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Three score and ten or more

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Utah Day 3.

This was the day of compression/decompression.  Tomorrow morning I had to sing a duet with my cousin (whom I knew has a great voice, but with whom I had never sung in my life) followed immediately with MY sermon at the funeral.   I have to confess at this time that singing How Great Thou Art at a funeral is not a foreign thing to me. I sang it the first time (that I remember) at the funeral of Jan's father, and have sung it so many times since, that Janet no longer enjoys the song or likes it at all, it is so associated with moments of grief in her life, and I am relatively sure that if I go before she does, there is almost no chance in the world that it will be sung at my funeral.  ON the other hand, it reaches right down into my core, and I think it shows.  I think I mentioned that I sang it at the funeral of one of my friends and the funeral director asked me if I would sing it at another funeral that week and that he would pay me to do so.  I said that I would do it for nothing, and within a short period realized that I had to say no from that point on or I would sing it once or twice a week for the rest of my life.   Having said that, my friend Bill, whom I had picked to be one of my pallbearers was killed in a household  accident a few months ago  and he was such a close friend that I sat, almost in agony at his funeral because I hadn't been asked to sing, so it cuts both ways I guess.

So here I was committed to sing.  I should admit  that my emotions are right on the surface all the time.  I cry watching the flag bearers march in parades.  When I was a missionary in Finland, I had to go to the US Embassy to get my visa renewed and when I got to the Embassy, it took me quite a while to do the job, because I stood for a long time in front of the Embassy looking at the flag (which I hadn't seen for over a year) with tears running down my face.  Having emotions close to the surface has been handy for my work as an actor.  When my character is supposed to cry on stage, I cry, and I have been told that when I am angry on stage, I am rather frightening.  The fact remains that my youngest daughter used to sing duets with me on numerous occasions (Christmas, church services etc., I don't recall any funerals) and, almost ten years ago she told me that she was not going to do that any more because I kept sobbing and messing up the notes. (She's a musical purist.)

As I sat at my laptop and prepared my talk, I had visions of finishing How Great Thou Art with tears running down my face then moving to the pulpit (or lectern, which ever they call it at funerals) a basket case and not being able to speak at all.  I called my cousin Kathy to make arrangements for rehearsal but she was tied up during the day. (She works for the Utah Attorney General) and I ended up going to my nephew's home for an evening snack where we got reacquainted (I really hadn't seen him or his family since his absolutely stunning older daughter was in middle school.  While we were at the home, she revealed her college major in photography and took pictures of everyone.) There were several members of the family including a couple of my nephews from other side of the family (My sister's kids) and one of my sisters and her husband as well.  It was a wonderful evening, except that I still hadn't rehearsed my song.  I called Kathy, and she said (as I understood it) that she and her accompanist would meet me at the church at eight thirty A.M. and we could rehearse then.  Famous last words, but we ended that day with laughter, some tears and a lot of good feeling.  (Of course I went home and read through my speech/sermon or what ever it was two or three times before bedtime.)  I should mention that the funeral was scheduled a 11:00 AM so I was still very nervous about this duet thing.  If it had been a solo, I would have felt more secure.


At 10:43 PM, Blogger Patrick Joubert Conlon said...

I so seldom visit you that I read three previous posts before realizing that I'd read them already. I guess I'm starting to have "senior moments." The upside is that I still enjoyed them.

At 10:48 AM, Blogger Norma said...

Maybe you could add a podcast thingy to your blog and sing for us?

At 11:44 AM, Blogger Three Score and Ten or more said...

I would be tempted if I had any clue how to do a "podcast thingy". So many computer things have been lost in this old coot brain. Sometimes I am not even able to do the things I have done for years.


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