12 May 2010

Picking and Grinning

UKULELE UPDATE! Last night after a really delicious pot luck dinner with our guests and some family and friends, I confessed to Peter that I'd snuck a play on his ukulele book the previous evening, and declared I absolutely had to get a uke soon. He slipped out of the house a little later and came back inside with a wedge-shaped box which he handed to me. It was a gift—a ukulele! Peter told me he was a missionary for the ukulele and had brought it from home thinking there would be someone along the way to give it to. Perfect!

The Thomases pulled out their instruments and a small amp for Donna's bass uke, and Rob pulled out his guitar, and we made some music. I say "we," but the only rhythm I could keep up with in the room was joy. I don't function well yet without a basic chord cheat sheet ten inches from my face, so I played C and F when they came around (sometimes). Gary did a bang-up job on Flexatone. Fun! When the Thomases were sung out, we said goodnight and I felt so glad we'd be doing it again this evening.

Today we finished our broadside collaboration. It turned out great! A terrific Kerouac quote, letterpress, painting prints with colorful Utah dirts, a cheerful assembly line of Thomases, Rob and me, and Paul—how could it turn out any way but wonderful? We shared good meals again today, and laughed and created together. I'm feeling inspired to work on more art projects.

As I mentioned before, tonight we did pot luck and music again. Only this time we had a full house and more musicians, and it turned into a straight up hootenanny. Everyone present, even the kids, were engaged and had something to make music or noise with; our odd collection of small instruments came in pretty handy. Aside from ukes and guitars, we had among other things a thumb piano, an assortment of bells, a Clackamore, a Flexatone, a jaw harp, Thai wooden frogs, The McAfees brought homemade ukulele songbooks and shared them with us, then led us in some happymaking music. Dad B came over for supper and left early but Mum stayed and played with us. Chris and Amy arrived early and stayed late and were lots of fun. Gary claimed his corner chair and totally ruled the Flexatone again. The Knudsons got into with us. Debby let loose with her gospel choir training, and found she could still play the uke. We taught Donna a new favorite song: "I Am a Child of God," which she requested twice. The McAfee daughter can really belt. It was a terrific evening, and I so hated to see it come to an end.

I've come to the conclusion again recently that music needs to be a bigger and regular part of my life. I forget all the time that I am actually a musician, just one that's been lying dormant. Music feeds my soul, and it's a way to play. So is art. So is writing. So is... well, play. The other thing I want to do, again with music, is have more such hootenannies at our house. Spending time together this way is good for what ails people; I'm so sure of it.

That's it. for the sake of health and happiness I am officially starting a band: The Be Heres. If you want to play in my band, all you have to do is come over and make some noise with me. You're in.

If you need some persuading to turn off your television and start making your own fun, here's another great song from one of my favorite bands, followed by some lyrics—

Oh, that television ... what a bad picture!
Don't get upset, its not a major disaster.
There's nothing on tonight, he said, I don't know whats the matter!
Nothing's ever on, she said, so ... I don't know why you bother.

We've heard this little scene, we've heard it many times.
People fighting over little things and wasting precious time.
They might be better off ... I think ... the way it seems to me.
Making up their own shows, which might be better than t.v.


Judy's in the bedroom, inventing situations.
Bob is on the street today, scouting up locations.
They've enlisted all their family.
They've enlisted all their friends.
It helped saved their relationship,
And made it work again ...

Their show gets real high ratings, they think they have a hit.
There might even be a spinoff, but they're not sure 'bout that.
If they ever watch t.v. again, it'd be too soon for them.
Bob never yells about the picture now, he's having too much fun.


Judy's in the bedroom, inventing situations,
Bob is on the street today, scouting up locations.
They've enlisted all their family.
They've enlisted all their friends.
It helped save their relationship, 

And made it work again ...

So think about this little scene; apply it to your life.
If your work isn't what you love, then something isn't right.
Just look at Bob and Judy; they're happy as can be,
Inventing situations, putting them on t.v.


Judy's in the bedroom, inventing situations.
Bob is on the street today, scouting up locations.
They've enlisting all their family.
They've enlisted all their friends.
It helped save the relationship,
And made it work again ...


Sweets said...

Wow, what an expected blessing, huh? Bass uke? I didn't know such a thing existed. Thai wooden frogs? I have one of those!! (^_^) Sounds like you had a wonderful time. Hey, do you ever pull out your flute?

c-dub said...

i want to take banjo lessons. want to join me?

PTO said...

I want to play the babyhead shakers if I'm gonna play in the Be Heres. I didn't come down this week (obviously) but I will be there soon (after Mem Day) because Mama continues to slide down hill.

Mary said...

Barbara Kingsolver has a wonderful essay about deciding to form a band (I believe it was with Amy Tan and Stephen King and a few other notables) and to have fun even though they weren't really great musicians. They played for some sort of authors convention and had a blast. She wrote about getting over the hurdle of thinking she needed to be "expert" and the value of doing things for the joy of it. I think you have just grabbed hold of that idea with both hands. I loved this. Makes me miss my music too . . .

Geo said...

Sweets, I did pull out the nose flute briefly! The pan pipes saw a little action, but the penny whistle stayed in the magic music box. I think one of the kids tried a recorder for a while. It'd be great if you and your frog could come and join us some time!

CW, that is tempting. Where? When? How much?

Jamie, the baby head shakers are gone! They creeped Rob out. But I can make more. I liked them! Those were about the best percussive instruments we've ever had here. You are absolutely going to have to come over and make some noise with us. It'll be good for your heart.

Mary, I like Barbara Kingsolver—I'll try to find that essay. I like the sound of it. The Front Porch Rockers? : )