Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Singing in Spite of My Audience

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Singing in Spite of My Audience

Article excerpt

I SING, even though I can't. My husband says, in his kindest voice, "Sorry, Babe. But you couldn't carry the tiniest tune in the world's largest bucket." This is from the guy who believes fervently that I'm as artistic as Van Gogh when I doodle on our notepad, who thinks I'm the next Julia Child when I manage to microwave a chicken breast slathered with bottled barbecue sauce, and who wants to nominate me for poet laureate whenever I compose a limerick. As a kid, I belted out the motley collection of ditties my mother taught me, songs I never hear any more, such as: "Can She Bake a Cherry Pie, Billy Boy?" "I'll Give to You a Paper of Pins," "At the Boarding House Where I Live," and "When Father Put the Paper on the Wall." I was about 8 when my Sunshine Singers choir leader gently suggested that I croon more softly. "Or you could even just move your lips, dear, and give your voice a rest." It didn't faze me. I knew my voice didn't need resting, thank you very much, and I set out to prove it by cranking up my volume. I went on singing until I hit my self- conscious teen years. After a hushed decade, I became a mother. My little boys grinned and sang along when I performed for them. But this too quickly came to an end and I was silenced in my ever- evolving quest not to mortify my offspring. Actually, not totally silenced. I continued to carol, away from my sons. At work one day, feeling sentimental toward my friends, I was rendering (rather well, I thought) a rousing version of "Auld Lang Syne" when one of those pals stopped by my office. "What did you say?" she asked after a few minutes. I stopped singing. "Say? I didn't say anything." "Terry! You're mumbling out loud to yourself - you realize that, right?" My offers to lullaby my husband into slumberland were for naught. "It will be so soothing," I suggested. …

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