Sunday, February 21, 2016

Week 8 of 2016 - Singing Sweetly and OffKey

Singing was always an important activity in our family. My Dad was often the instigator. We would sing in the car during long car rides and short jaunts. We would sing “Clementine, Coming round the Mountain, Row your Boat, 100 Bottle of Pop on the Wall, (it had to be pop, not beer because he would not let us sing about beer!), Three Blind Mice, Twinkle Twinkle, Jesus Loves me”...I know there were others but I can't remember right now. Anyway, it was Dad's way of helping to past the time when we got antsy in the car.

Lapeer Church Choir
 Mom and Dad were both in the choir at church. They had really nice voices and so do we... I can not really remember how old I was when our traditional birthday song got started. I was just a kid. My Dad would lead us in the most off key version of Happy Birthday. Through the years Mom would plead with Dad to sing it nicely and we sang it worse and worse. As each of us found our spouses, and married, there was always that first “birthday song event” when we would wonder what would they think?  Mind you, we really did not care, after all this is our family tradition but at that vulnerable time in a budding relationship, we did wonder if this new person would think we were crazy... They all seemed to jump on the band wagon if not right away...then eventually when they realized it was just the way we did it. The grandchildren came along and they never heard the “nice” version so.... .It is just the way we do it....

After Dad died, Mom stopped asking about singing nicely... Even though she sang it nicely, I think when she heard us singing out off key it brought Dad right into the celebration again. For Mom's 80th Birthday celebration at the church...those attending sang her a nice Birthday song...and after the nice version was done. I announced that it was time for the Birthday song the “Smith way”...and all the Smith's including, Mom, belted out the Birthday song in the best off key version yet with many of those attending joining in!

About two weeks ago, Greg and I were sitting in the Stone Lodge in Port Sanilac eating dinner. There were two rather loud and large parties going on at other tables in the big dining room. It was obvious that they were Birthday Parties. Shortly after we ordered, a waitress went to one of the tables with a small cake with candles and all of a sudden the group began to sing the Smith Birthday song...I was so surprised to hear another family with at least 4 generations singing the Smith Birthday song! I felt this over whelming urge to join in...and I did! It was so much fun! I had never known another family who sang Happy Birthday offkey. (except our cousins who followed Dad's lead..) . And in public no less!!! They sang it just as exuberantly as we do!
After we had eaten, I could not resist the temptations to go visit them to tell them that we, “the Smith's”, do the same thing with the Birthday song. Like our family, the Father started the tradition with the mother begging him to stop!...We laughed...

Sweet singing memories...

Love, Jan

1 comment:

  1. I love to sing...and sure wish I would have made time to join the Community Choir in Harbor Beach when Mom and Dad were both in it. It was just difficult with the boys were young and we were running with them to their games, etc. The couple of years I was able to sing with the choir were fabulous and then it disbanded. I still hope there will be another one! Grandma that was a voice to experience! Dad Smith had an awesome voice and Mom, while kinda quiet, could carry her soprano part very well. Great memories.