Wednesday, July 27, 2011

If I Were A Rich Man!

I realize that it doesn't translate well to the written word...but I consider myself a decent singer.  I can carry a tune, I usually remember most of the words, and I can belt out certain songs and not have people run away grabbing their pitchforks and torches.  There is one small problem with my singing voice however...I can only use it on certain occasions.  I know it would be funnier to say something like, "My singing voice scares away young and old alike!" but I want to be truthful.

I remember one time in my upper grade classroom when I was trying to have them slog through a rousing rendition of The Twelve Days Of Christmas.  We were stuck at day seven and there was no indication that this wasn't our last day.  I actually would have liked them to "slog" but I think their best effort could be described as "mumbleslur."  Websters defines mumbleslur as: a small series of incoherent sounds a preteen will make when forced to sing out loud.  I had a classroom full of students who very well could have been singing "meatball pancake, meatball pancake" for all I knew, and I just couldn't take it anymore.  I took a deep breath and joined in, "FIVE GOLDEN RINGS!!!  FOUR CALLING BIRDS..." I won't bore you with the details and I understand that department stores and sitcom reruns have the rights to Christmas in July.  Please bear with me, I'm almost done.

When I finished dragging the class through the remainder of the musical calendar (we made it in a day and a half) and playfully said something intelligent like, "We are going to have a little Christmas spirit in here if I have to pound it into you," my aide, Donna, said, "Wow!  Mr. Garrettt can sing."

Yes, Christmas Carols are one set of songs that I can belt out with the full power of my voice.  Unless Mary is leading the group...(more later)  My voice is low, deep you might say.  I don't want to brag, but I have been told that I have a voice for radio.  I have also been told that I have a face for radio but I don't want to open that painful can of worms right now.  My voice comes out a little deeper when I use what my daughter calls, 'the phone voice', and it comes out even deeper still on the few occasions that I sing.  Picture Darth Vader and Sam Elliot trying to sing.  That is me.  I look forward to Christmas because I think those songs are made for low singing folk like me...usually.  At my old church there was a wonderfully nice woman who had a great operatic voice.  She was the person in charge of leading the group one year.  We all assembled looking like we were going skiing at Aspen (which is ridiculous since we were actually in an overheated convalescent hospital in California).  We all had our lyrics.  Mary began to sing and everyone who was not an official member of the Vienna Boys Choir, on helium, was resigned to singing, "meatball pancake, meatball pancake."  The only way I would have hit the notes she wanted us to hit would have involved vise grips, an inflatable hemorrhoid donut, and weeks and weeks of bags of ice.  But I digress...

The real reason I wanted to tell you about my voice was to tell you about my car ride home last night.  Kristiana visited a friend in the mountains for the day and when it was time to pick her up we decided to make it a family event.  The fact that we were picking her up not fifty yards from an old fashioned ice cream parlor had nothing to do with it.  As we were driving home, ice cream in hand (except for Kristiana...who has the will power of a monk) Kristiana announced, "Dad, I am going to dye your beard!"  I couldn't just let it hang out there in the air so I said, "Umm no thanks honey."  She said that she could do it and it would match the rest of my hair. 
"Umm no thanks honey." 
"Why Not"
Oh no.  I am not a good liar.  My secret was going to come out. 
"Daaaad!  Why Nooooooot?"
Ok, here goes.  "Because I am secretly hoping that a musical producer will see my impressively graying beard and ask me to star as Tevye in his upcoming production of Fiddler on the Roof!"
To slow the uproarious laughter I burst into song...."If I were a rich man...."
Everyone stopped laughing, wiped their tears of joy, and pointed out the window at the Broadway producer who just happened to be driving by and had the standard "rich and famous" contract ready for me to sign. 

Well that is how it will go in the movie about my life.  What really happened was one of those silly times in the car when everyone started making up their own lyrics to the song.  Instead of 'biddy biddy bum' we substituted 'butter butter butter' and other nonsense words that would make Jerry Bock turn over in his grave.  (And if he isn't dead, he would die, and then turn over in his grave.) 

This was a car ride that I will not soon forget...and I get to star on Broadway!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Apologies All Around

First, let me say that I have not been abducted by aliens and that isn't the reason I haven't been able to write.  I think.  I mean I guess I wouldn't really know if I was really abducted by aliens so I guess I could have been and did not even realize it, again.  Second, I did not need to go to "a facility" for "a vacation" like so many of you have wondered and I do not know, for a fact, that straight jackets chafe under the arms and in the crotch.  Third, I suspect I need to emphasize that there were no aliens involved in my disappearance, this time. 

As I sit down to write for the first time in two weeks I considered using the title, "How I Spent My Summer Vacation" but I already used that before when I wrote about saving a little boy from drowning.  I know how sophisticated my readers are and you all would have expected something equally noble from a title such as that.  No such luck.  I considered titling it "I'm Back!" but that would insinuate that some of you noticed that I was missing.  When I came home there were no cards from well wishers concerned about my well being.  Sniff...that's ok...I'll survive...somehow.  I also thought about using "Did You Miss Me?" but that too could be misconstrued and I might get smart aleck comments back like, "I didn't throw anything at you!"  As you well know, I do not want to invite smart aleckness (yeah right).  More importantly I don't want to get people thinking, "Hey!  We can throw stuff at him?  Cool!" 

What I really did for these past two weeks is a closely guarded secret, important to national security, holds the fate of the nation in its secrecy, but I think I can tell you.  I, along with my wonderful family and 31 other members of our church, drove to Ganado, Arizona to a Presbyterian mission on the Navajo reservation.  We spent a week cleaning, painting, building, creating, playing, wiring, and interacting.  There were many other 'ing's I'm sure, but I don't want to ruin the surprise and have everything here on the blog.  I want to write something about our trip for the church (on the more serious side) but I wanted to update y'all first.  That's right!  I said, "y'all!"  If people want to read the serious piece I write for the church I suppose you can let me know by asking here and I will post it.  Otherwise it will be in our church's newsletter.

After our trip to Ganado my family decided to continue on and see what we could see in a new part of the country.  Again, I plan on milking this trip for at least ten or twelve blog ideas so I don't want to put everything we did right here.  Let me just entice you by saying that we went to several national parks, we ate foods that we wouldn't normally have eaten, we drank more water than was previously thought possible, and I sat in four states at one time!  And one of them was Nebraska!  (You see the joke there is that the four corners area, where four states touch at one point, does not include I would have to have a rump of outrageous dimensions to cover four states starting in Nebraska.  I just felt I needed to include everyone in the joke.  And it is unlikely that my Slovenian readers have ever been to four corners.)

There were a few other 'jokes' on the trip but we didn't know about them until we were securely situated smack dab in the middle of the Navajo nation.  I sat down to write, while there, and there wasn't an internet connection to be found.  I could have imposed on the wonderful and accommodating pastor to use her computer but, honestly, when the day of work, in greater than 100 degree heat, was over it was all I could do to flop myself down in the general direction of our bed.  I am proud to say that I made it mostly to the bed most nights.  I even managed to remember to put on my jammies once or twice...but that was about it.  I considered writing things up to send out when I got an internet connection.  One problem was that I usually, as I am now, write my silly little blog in the morning before everyone else gets up.  The dog is my alarm clock and I just stay up with him at my side as I write.  I have an actual alarm clock on my phone but I generally never need to set it since I am an early riser to start with.  Usually.  This trip, if the alarm didn't go off, I would have slept til noon at least.  We worked ourselves silly.  Also, even if I had the time write, when I turned on our newly 'fixed' computer I found out that when I paid to have everything put from the old hard drive onto the new one it didn't include Microsoft Office so I had no place to write and save anything.  (I know, wordpad or notepad would have worked but I have lost things to those awful programs before and I didn't want to go there).  Also, our computer...did I mention that it was 'fixed'?...decided that it would stay powered up only as long as it felt comfortable.  If the camper shook, shut down.  If a dog barked, shut down.  If it was being operated by someone who had teeth, shut down.  If it was turned on, shut down.  But don't worry, it only shut down on days that end in 'y'!  (I'm not sure about Slovenia but all of our days end in 'y' here so that means it happened all the time)  My dad, who loaned us his truck to haul our camper, also loaned us his 'newly repaired' laptop so I would be able to write.  His did not have all the troubles that ours did...I think.  I'm not sure what troubles his has because we never got past the blue screen that says, "Your computer is dead.  It has been taken over by mutant aliens (who have not kidnapped blogwriters...wink wink) and should be restarted so you can see this blue screen again.  (snicker snicker)  No seriously!  Just turn it off and turn it on again and everything should work fine.  (hah hah hah)  If you see this blue screen again, I am sure it is only a fluke and you should just keep trying it.  (BAH HAH HAH)  If you have just 'repaired' it, don't worry.  That was money well spent.  (I CAN'T TAKE IT!)  We are now erasing every bit of information off of your newly 'repaired' paperweight, I mean computer, and we have contacted Skynet to begin taking over the world.  (I can't breathe!  My sides hurt!  STOP!  It's Too Funny!)

So needless to say I didn't do any writing while we were away.  I apologize.  I will try to get back into the swing of things here soon and let you in on more things that happened while I was away...but apparently only my mom noticed I was gone, so please go on with your regularly scheduled lives. 

It's good to be back.