Monday, May 2, 2016

CATERWAULING


Some people have talent. I have been rather seriously short changed in that department.  I was banned from finger painting in the first grade. Some people can't color inside the lines, I couldn't keep the paint on the paper.  Then I bombed in my acting debut as Goldilocks in the 4th grade.  No one in the audience heard one line as I mumbled Brando like into my chest.  Finally, people either split a gut laughing or run in terror when I sing.

I gave up acting completely but I still sporadically attempt pencil sketching for my own amusement and sing when I am pretty sure no one else is around. I find singing fun to do but try to not inflict it on others and usually confine it to my car with the windows rolled up.

Oddly I was unaware I was such an awful singer till I got married.  We were driving to Florida on our honeymoon when I started to sing along with a song on the radio. My brand new husband started laughing so hard he had to pull off the road. With laugh tears filling his eyes, he informed me I was an awful singer. I still didn't believe it till he recorded my voice for me.

Criminy, hearing myself made me realized then just how kind my friends had been all those years who had said nothing. I knew then I should only sing in private or for laughs.  I quickly learned in group singalongs to stand close to a really loud and proud singer and would lip sync away totally unnoticed. Yes, even for Happy Birthday.

Age has not mellowed my voice but made it worse. Now besides sliding off key, my voice cracks more than an adolescent boy's.

Recently with all the news coverage on Prince, I discovered the song "Purple Rain".  I hadn't heard it before for during his prime, I was a newly formed country fan. I was really intrigued by his bluesy style on that song and downloaded it to my computer. I love it.

The other day, I was listening to "Purple Rain" playing on my computer while reading your blogs and I started singing along. I started off first in my usually soft. shy voice for my own ear comfort as well as any innocent passersby but then I got into it and let er rip.

Out of nowhere, I felt a tap on my shoulder.  When you live alone, a tap like that quickly brings to mind episodes of Criminal Minds or Ghost Busters. Pretty sure I'd have seen a serial killer enter the room so I was leaning towards it being a frisky ghost. Perhaps an appalled and offended Prince?

When I peeked uneasily over my shoulder, there was Minnie the cat reaching for me from the edge of the bed. She kept reaching and tapping so I rolled my chair closer to her still singing. I couldn't believe what happened next.  She went a little nuts. She began purring,  moaning, sensually rolling and head butting me with a nip or two thrown in for good measure.

At first I was concerned for her physical and mental health thinking I had driven her over the edge with my singing. Then it hit me what was happening and I got the giggles. She has been spayed since I found her 12 years ago yet she was acting a lot like a cat in heat.

I have sung other songs before with out that reaction so "Purple Rain" must be her turn on song. My rendition evidently reminded her of the good old days when she was an intact female and I must have sounded for all the world to her like a tom cat looking for love. What a memory that cat has and wow, I really am that bad of a singer.

Some people make a joyful noise when they sing. I evidently only make a noise similar to a horny cat---but I intend to continue.  Now at least my caterwauling gives someone besides me actual pleasure.

Are you one of the lucky ones who can sing unafraid or are you like me and are a closet singer who should remain closeted?

Monday, April 25, 2016

ULYSSES

Rerun from April 2009.

I've mentioned before that I grew up like an Army Brat. We weren't military but we sure moved a lot due to my mother's health. The bad part of moving is that I seldom learned how my friends turned out. The good part is that I was always the new girl and while the girls often weren't exactly pleased with me, the boys usually were-- a lot. "New girl" had the edge, a mystique.

Ages 10 to 12 when we lived in Key West, were my prime years of popularity. Now it is sad to "peak" at 12 but I guess it is better than never "peaking" at all. 

During those two years, I had a steady boyfriend Danny who went to the Catholic boy's school. Danny was the love of my young life after my failed attempt with Roy Rogers. However, he did not go to my school, so a girl had to entertain herself all those hours away from her steady. In essence, I cheated on Danny seven fold.

I kept a daily list of  the 7 boys that pursued me in the public school. Each day the 7 would come up to me one at a time and want to know their position on the list. Those who made number one ever so briefly, whooped and hollered. I had to constantly adjust the list to keep the fellows interested. Now the only romance occurring with the public school boys was maybe a little sweaty hand holding and treat buying with the current #1.

The boys knew nothing about Danny and Danny knew nothing about them. It was the only time in my life when I had complete power over the opposite sex and I loved every minute of it.  I was convinced that this was my destiny. However, I never again EVER came close to that degree of popularity for as puberty approached, the only thing to develop at a normal rate was my personality. From 10 to 12 though, I was figure appropriate for that age group.

Every school has a sad person who just doesn't fit. Ulysses was ours. He was the image of Alfred E Newman who was the cover boy of a humor magazine from the late 50's.  Ulysses could have been the model--- maybe he was.

Ulysses had orange hair that stuck out in all directions. Freckles, great big, pencil eraser sized freckles covered his face including his lips and ears. His ears were huge and stuck straight out from his head and his teeth were gaped and too large for his mouth. And what had his parents been thinking of by naming a boy Ulysses in the deep south? Though he was smart enough, Ulysses rarely participated in class and kept to himself. He certainly was not on my list of seven.

One day in music class, the chairs were all moved to the side of the room to make a space for square dance lessons. We were of the age that when dance was suggested, the girls got excited while all the boys groaned and shuffled their feet as they studied the floor. The teacher decided to make it a "girls choice" dance in an effort to break up the bottle neck.

My Magnificent Seven were eyeing me to see which one of them I would pick. I have always hated the unfairness of the dreaded "pick" routine. Though I always escaped that position, someone was always "picked" last and is humiliated by being the left over. 

Being the smallest and a bit of a teacher's pet I was given first pick. Yeah I know a lot of you are really disliking that 10 year old me but remember this glory didn't last long.   

Since I have always had an overblown sense for fair play, I shocked the whole class and picked Ulysses to be my partner so he would not be chosen last. His freckles blended into one giant one as he flushed red. He walked slowly towards me as if expecting a big "April Fool."

The dance was really basically a side by side march around the room with the boy's arm over the girl's shoulder. A little do-se-do'ing, swing your partner, promenade and finis-- no biggie. 

There was a constant buzzing though about Ulysses and I. The Magnificent Seven were stunned and the girls all wondered why I had chosen him when I could have had any of my pet group. 

Maybe they reasoned that they had underestimated the worth of Ulysses if I wanted him as a partner. Somehow his value increased ten fold that day by being a first pick-- a number one draft choice so to speak.  Ulysses became a friend though not one of the seven. I all ready had a full plate. 

It was a couple of weeks later when I discovered the extent of what I had done with so simple a move. I was going to class when Ulysses came down the hall towards me between two cute girls. With an arm around each, he was grinning from big ear to big ear as he gave me a sly wink. 

It seems that he suddenly was Mr. Popular and had his own list of girls to keep happy. His looks hadn't changed except that his posture was straighter and what ever he used to tame his hair had dulled the orange to a nice auburn. 

What had changed was his confidence level which was through the roof. He was no longer considered gawky but cute. It wasn't long before his formerly unknown dry sense of humor started to blossom.  Ulysses maintained a solid degree of popularity into junior high when we moved again and I lost track.

We left Key West and my absolute popularity behind. I never did find out how Ulysses turned out.  For the life of me I can't remember his last name or I'd Google him.  That first name would weed out a lot of hits.   Somehow though, I think he did OK.

Did you ever change a person or were changed your self by a simple chance action?  Maybe to or by a classmate, a friend or a teacher?