Many years ago there was a little girl named Margaret who loved to sing. A neighbor lady asked her why she loved to sing and she answered “Doesn’t everyone love to sing? Grandma sings. That’s how she met Grandpa. He doesn’t sing normally but he plays the piano and sometimes the organ at church. He sings with his fingers.”
Margaret’s rules for when to sing and when not to sing adjusted to the time and season. She was a snow skier and when she was skiing she did not sing. Neither did she yodel. It was low class to make noise when skiing. There was too much joy in the sound of your skis on the snow to mess it up with singing. Racing down the hill as fast as her snow plow allowed made her feel as if she were being chased by a big fat Ball Of Joy that would knock her over if she slowed down. When she did stop Joy caught up with her and filled her up so her throat was tight with it.
Except for skiing, and school, Margaret sang when she felt like it. She didn’t think about it, she just let fly with whatever song bubbled to the top. She particularly loved the folk songs her mother played on the LPs she stacked six-high on the turntable in the living room.
One day Margaret’s Grandfather (the same Grandfather who sang with his fingers) took her shopping at Northgate Mall. People could shop anytime at Northgate Mall because it was covered. (Many years ago shopping malls were not covered.) Everyone knows a covered mall is as good place to sing as there is, almost as good as the bathroom.
Margaret and Grandpa were walking next to Nordstrom’s when Margaret let fly with the chorus of the old folk song “O My Darlin’ Clementine”:
“O my darlin’, o my darlin’, O MY DARLIN’ CLEMENTINE!
“You are lost and gone forever! O, my DARLIN’ CLEMENTINE!”
Grandpa was very English, and very taciturn, and he loved Margaret very much. He kept walking, holding Margaret’s hand, looking straight ahead at where he was going, and watching the people in the mall look around to see where the noise was coming from. Most of the people in the mall looked at Margaret and smiled, partly because she was so small and the noise she made was very large, and partly because it made them remember when they were little and could sing.
Some people didn’t smile because Margaret made them wonder why they didn’t sing anymore, not even in the bathroom. They wondered what had happened to them. They felt they ought to at least feel like singing even if they didn’t do it.
That’s what life does to you. It takes away your song.
What would Margaret say to that?
“Get your song back.”