Thursday, March 5, 2009

Randomness on The Road of Life, or, I have no idea where this will go today

Three Rings for the Elven Kings

Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
In the Land of Mordor where Shadows lie.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the dark shadows bind them
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.

--- J.R.R. Tolkien

Robert T memorized it years ago.

Ten Little Indians

Ten little Indian boys going out to dine
One choked his little self
Then there were nine

Nine little Indian boys staying up late
One overslept himself
Then there were eight

Eight little Indian boys traveling to Devon
One stayed there
Then there were seven

Seven little Indian boys chopping up sticks
One chopped himself in half
Then there were six

Six little Indian boys playing with a hive
A bumblebee stung one
Then there were five

Five little Indian boys going into law
One got into Chancery
Then there were four

Four little Indian boys going out to sea
A red herring swallowed one
Then there were three

Three little Indian boys going to the zoo
A big bear hugged one
Then there were two

Two little Indian boys playing with a gun
One shot the other
Then there was one

One little Indian boy playing all alone
He went and hung himself
And then there were none

-- from And Then There Were None, by Agatha Christie; the only book of hers I was able to get through.

Years ago I memorized that.

I recently recalled it to mind after at least 20 years lying dormant in the cobwebbed and dusty corners of my memory; I nailed it on the first try.


Much of our brain is filled with things that are not particularly "useful"; trivia, words to songs, partially correct recollections of our childhood, perhaps. And why are there some songs we know the words to that we cannot sing a capella, but give us the song on the radio and we sing along perfectly?

Childhood church memories of songs, excuse me: hymns, that we sang for years with feeling have morphed into versions that have been updated, with a nod to the times. No more are "thee" and "thou" permitted (in our church, anyway), and the new versions do not sound the same to my admittedly biased ear, which is why I sing the original words as I recall them whenever these updated versions are sung. Many references to "Him" or "His" are now changed over to "God"; while this is technically correct, it is as if they are trying to remove God's sex (you know, He is God the Father, after all). I sing the auld words softly so as not to disrupt those around me who do not know any better, and who might give me a strange look if they heard me. One of these days I may sit in a different pew, one with older folks, sing my version loudly, and see if I get weird looks or a knowing smile. They are also likely to pity me, thinking I am unable to change with the times.

Hey! I do take Communion by hand now! A particularly nasty head cold was the deciding factor in that change, and I was mildly surprised not to be struck down immediately thereon, as I did not consider myself worthy of taking the consecrated host in my grubby hands.

Growing up Catholic meant a Latin Mass until I was in 4th grade. The hymns were mostly in English, with an occasional Latin one thrown in for good measure, and the always popular Adeste Fidelis at Christmastime. I can still sing the first verse of that in my flawless Latin. I cannot sing further verses in Latin because I have never heard any further verses in Latin. Sadly, while I can recall the Agnus Dei, I cannot recall the Pater Noster. I may have to get myself to a Tridentine Mass one of these days.

Speaking of singing, Wonderful Daughter once remarked that I was the only person who could sing all parts of a choral arrangement.


THAT should give you an indication of my singing voice; I am a baritone one moment and a soprano the next, and all entirely off key. I am not tuneless (that's TUNE less, not CLUEless), but I will admit to being toneless. I do believe, however, that I am one of the world's greatest shower stall singers extant.

Wonderful Daughter received her excellent singing voice and musical abilities from Beautiful Wife, who was a choir member through high school.

(Me, I can play a pretty fair radio, and now even an Ipod! Speaking of which, some might say what is on mine is an "eclectic mix" [I regard "eclectic" as being a particularly pretentious word to describe someone who not only has no taste, but has no sense of style, either. That does not apply to me!]. I like what I like, why else would it be on there? My Ipod has country, 60's pop/rock ["oldies" to me and you], a few Big Band numbers, marching band tunes, Irish folk music, 50's and 60's folk and protest songs [You?!? Really?!?], what used to be labeled Easy Listening or Middle of the Road such as the Ames Brothers, Andy Williams or Barry Manilow; also the soundtrack to "Hello, Dolly!" [my Sophomore high school class musical], what is called "New Age" music by Mannheim Steamroller, and timeless classics from Sinatra. There are also likely other things I cannot recall, but that is it in a nutshell. I am up to 1350 songs, and I still have yet to transfer all my 45s, 33s and tapes!)

Sorry about the lengthy digression!

Anyway, to continue detailing the qualities of my children, Handsome Son got his athletic abilities from me, as well as his singing voice. He is not only a better athlete than I was (I did well enough, two Varsity letters in baseball, despite a certain ski mask playground basketball game), but he is also a far worse singer. So, he has exceeded me in both endeavors.

Dearest Kelley was a good mix of Beautiful Wife and myself, athleticism from me, and singing from her mother.

We miss her terribly.

As always, thanks for stopping by,

North of 50