Monday, November 21, 2011

"Sixteen Tons" and how music connects

Yellow Sky, 22 x 30, watercolor
Because I love music and playing with other musicians, I invite guests to bring their instruments when they come over. Many people don't. Not because they don't play instruments, but because they feel self conscious, unprepared to play, or just plain don't want to.

But one time, I planned a dinner party for just a few friends. One couple called to cancel because the husband's childhood friend surprised them by dropping in for a visit. Of course, I was happy to invite him to come to dinner, too. Even happier when he came with a trumpet case! Yippee!!

After dinner, John and I went into the music room and rifled through my books. We bluffed our way through some old show tunes with him playing horn over my shoulder. The other guests gathered nearby to enjoy the laughter and fun (surely not to enjoy the music because that was filled with blunders and false starts and stops). We worked through some Frank Sinatra hits and, after a while, John said he needed to quit because his lip "gave out."

But, we continued to talk about music and he confided that he and his long time buddy from second grade (the very stern guy sitting in the room, listening to the music) used to sing, too. In fact, he said, in their younger years the two of them sang to keep a cadence when they hiked.

Really? Like what? I asked.

And John began to sing "Sixteen Tons." And, our stern friend in the room nearby joined in. They stood and sang the entire song from start to finish. The rest of us just sat there and smiled. Or teared up. I did both.

Two guys. Friends since the second grade. Now in their 60s. Singing, with harmony, all of the words from this song. We were all connected in that moment.

1 comment:

Cindy Michaud said...

great post, I got tears too...what a great hostess you are, I'd play the spoons just to join in the fun.