Monday, November 15, 2010

Bits of Life

Last night was the first rehearsal for the church Christmas chorus. Paul and I strong-armed Steven, he of the amazing talent, near-perfect pitch, and zero interest, into joining. Along with Ben, who just does these things without creating ripples.

They came home. Yeah, it went fine, said Steven, but why don't Paul and I sing too? Huh?

Well, because we can't sing.

Oh come on. You could if you tried.

I thought, how do you explain to somebody who can sing what this is like? I said, "It's like this. I can hear the music, and I can know in my head how something ought to sound, but then I open my mouth and the sound that comes out is waaaaaay different from what I was hearing in my head."

Paul thought that said it pretty well.

Steven couldn't comprehend this. He still thought we were just being cowardly.

"I'll make a deal," I said. "I'll sing in the chorus if you write my next column for me."

Paul jumped on the wagon too. "And I'll join if you preach my next sermon."

Steven let it go at that.

* * * *

Emily called me Saturday and said she had received an email from The Writer magazine saying they mentioned her in an article in the December issue and were sending her a copy. My daughter! quoted in a writing magazine?! Like a cartoon character I levitated, whirled my legs in the air, and was off to the computer with puffs of smoke behind me. I soon found the website but sadly the articles aren't online. So today I stopped at the Albany Library, found the magazine, found the article, copied it, and came very close to grabbing perfect strangers to tell them about it.

It was an article about writers who are either older or younger than the average, such as one woman who wrote a book after she was over 100. And like Emily Smucker, who wrote for the Louder Than Words series at age 18. And later it quoted Emily's advice to aspiring authors.

* * *

I haven't traveled for two months, and half of my children are out of the house. Funny how other responsibilities rush in to fill any gaps in my time. I'm teaching Sunday school, VP of sewing circle, and directing the school Christmas play.

Someone should write a play for school kids sometime with about 25 equal speaking/acting parts. Sigh. I guess I really should be glad they're all eager to be involved. And we all know how effective those cheerful Oh-but-even-the-guy-who-wanders-in-and-back-out-without-saying-anything-is-just-as-important-as-the-main-character speeches are. Blessings on the two kids today who said, "It's ok if I get the part and really it's ok if I don't."

The play we're doing is Why The Chimes Rang. Paul's sister Rosie got copies of it back when she was teaching music and we decided it's been long enough that we can recycle it. But I felt like it was mostly narration and very little acting. So I went online and after too much digging found an old play from 1915 based on the Chimes story. So I revised it and we hope this all works.

* * *
Speaking of digging too much online: for some reason I recently recalled an old song Mom used to sing. As I recalled, it went like this: In Ladabach hav' ich mein strump fuhloahda, un ohny strump gehn ich nicht heim, so gehn ich viddah tsdik, nach Ladabach zu, un koff mich un strump fah das bein"

Translation: In Ladabach I lost my sock, and without my sock I can't go home. So I'm going back to Ladabach to buy a sock for my leg.

Was this an actual German folk song, or just something her family knew? Did she learn it in school, or what?

I went online. And eventually, there it was, only Ladabach was Lauterbach. And on YouTube there was an old recording of Vicky the Viennese yodeler, with her rough country voice, warbling "In LaaauuuuterbaCCHHH hab' ich mein Struuumpf verloren!"

Now I need to ask Mom where the song came from in her life.

Quote of the Day:
"You know, young man, every day you wake up with a pulse is a good day!"
--a white-haired woman at Kmart, completely out of the blue, to a young man stocking the shelves. Bless his heart, he said, "Yes, you are absolutely right. Thank you for pointing that out to me."


  1. I love this line: Like a cartoon character I levitated, whirled my legs in the air, and was off to the computer with puffs of smoke behind me.

    Congratulations to Emily, and to you for being a good role model and teacher to her.

    Miriam Iwashige

  2. What would we do without the internet! :)

  3. YaY! Emily! glad her writing career is continuing well.

    YAY to Paul and Dorcus for the "deal" offered to the son with the singing talent. Love the message and the lesson. (I see it as we all have our own gifts, and I'm willing to walk in your shoes if you're willing to walk in mine.)

    Thanks for the continued inspiration, includ9ng there are others out there with great manners and morals (the respectful young man at WalMart)

  4. There is a better rendition of "Zu Lauderbach" on John Schmidt's album "Dutch Blitz". I'm sure you'd enjoy it!

  5. Regina--I looked up that cd and decided that's what I want for Christmas!