My mother loved music. When she went blind temporarily from a pharmacy dispensing error and still did not know if her vision would ever return, she would say “I would rather lose my vision than my hearing. I can still listen to music and that’s enough beauty for any lifetime.” She had a way of putting troubles into perspective and facing difficulties with stoic optimism.
One of Mom’s great disappointments was that she did not sing well. That did not, however, prevent her from singing. One of my favorite Mom stories is when one of the women at church said to her, “You know, it would be okay to just mouth the words. You don’t have to sing out loud.” Now, I would have said something Angl0-Saxon to her but Mom was much better at the quick riposte. She said, “The Psalms say ‘Make a joyful noise unto the Lord’ There’s not one word in there about being in tune.” Well, Mom’s voice was joyful. And so, thanks to Mom, I joyfully sing as out of tune as she was.
One of the songs she would sing was Bobby Vinton’s “Roses are red, my love. Violets are blue. Sugar is sweet, my love, but not as sweet as you.” That’s the only verse she would sing, because it was her wake-up song. She would stand by my bedroom door and sing it to wake me up in the morning. Believe me, joyful – not tuneful – singing is more powerful than any alarm clock. Out of tune or not, she’s been gone for more than three years and I would give anything to hear her wake me up with that song again.
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