Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tuesday Reminiscences: Trial by fire

We were sort of forced into finishing our cinder-block walls in our backyard. I'm a little irritated about this because I had visions of, I don't know, paying the mortgage with that $300. But, (deep breath), I'll tell the full story when I have pictures.

Our neighbor's guy did the wall for us. We were calling him The Nice Man all weekend because 1. Lillian was scared of him and 2. He spoke zero English, so we didn't chat him up and we never really got his name. The Nice Man worked all weekend on finishing our walls. At one point, after he went home for the day, we saw he had left a little section undone. The section was not strictly part of the wall, so we weren't sure if he was going to do it or not. This was Sunday. (Much to my dismay he had shown up while we were at church. I told Tyler that this was the one time in our lives we've had anything close to a Man Servant and we suffered him to labor on the Sabbath. I still feel bad about it.) Anyway, come Monday, it was up to me to ask if he was going to finish that section of wall. It's true that I have been taking Spanish classes through the public library, but my vocabulary is limited to: soy ama de casa y tengo dos hijas. I was pretty nervous, but when I walked out there (armed with Lillian, a bottle of water, and a cookie) I saw that he had done that little section. Phew. We had an awkward conversation in which I told him I spoke muy pequeño Spanish and he said gracias por la galleta y agua and I made Lillian say de nada which sort of sounded like 'umbrella' but I think he got the idea.

I've had a few exciting 'just do it' experiences, and I was trying to think of one to tell today. But, for some reason, the only one I can remember is when I learned how to sing harmony. Not that exciting, but it will do.

I've always been a soprano, so in my formative years of singing, I never learned to pick out the secret alto notes hidden under the melody. My sophomore year of high school, I was trying out in front of our 50-or-so member co-ed choir for some sort of special number. I sang the soprano with another girl who sang alto. When we finished, our choir director said something like, "that sounded good, let's hear it again except switch parts." I froze. I really wanted this number, but I had no idea how to sing harmony; I'd never even attempted it. Ever. Not once.

As happens so often when I'm nervous, I said said something dumb, "But, I don't know how to sing the melody." (Of course, I meant harmony). Without skipping a beat, my director replied, "Well, good thing altos sing harmony, then," and he cued the pianist to begin the intro (he was always a very no nonsense sing-or-get-off-my-stage kind of guy). A fellow soprano sitting next to me sensed my anxiety and hummed my starting note. I screwed up a bunch at first and I'm pretty sure I wasn't singing very loudly, but I ended on the right note, and that's all that matters right?

I didn't get the part, but I realized that singing harmony isn't all that hard.

1 comment:

Rileigh said...

I always loved sitting next to you during sacrament meeting because I never knew what part you were going to sing next. To this day I can't sing "God be with you till we meet again" without thinking about you and smiling.

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