Utopian Turtletop. Monsieur Croche's BĂȘte Noire. Contact: turtletop [at] hotmail [dot] com

Tuesday, January 13, 2004


My beloved wife and I sang Happy Birthday to him many times. We sing to him often. Sometimes he sings along.


So is The Star Spangled Banner. Little known facts.


Tuesday is one of my child care days, and my wife took the day off so we could have a day-long party together. We drove up to the mountain pass and went snowshoe-ing with the baby in the backpack. Listening to a local public radio international music show on the way back, I was having trouble understanding the DJ. It wasn't his accent -- he sounded urban northern standard white American. DJs commonly boost the bass frequency of their voices while broadcasting, and this guy boosted his so much it made it hard to hear what he was saying. He didn't make the music too bass-y, and he played good music, but it was funny when he talked.


We had a bunch of people over for dinner after getting back from snowshoe-ing. I surprised myself and started banging away at the piano, reading the chords of songs I know and love in a songbook called "Softer Songs of the '60s." I do this in private pretty often, and I'm quite bad at it. I had hoped to practice to get good enough to do it at a party by next Christmas, and here I was doing it eleven months early. It wasn't alcohol -- I'd only had one beer, a couple hours before. Maybe it was the cake; maybe it was my son's birthday -- whatever it was, I plunged in. And a few guests joined in and we gathered around the piano as I butchered the chords, and we bellowed away on "King of the Road" and "The Impossible Dream" and "On A Clear Day" and other old favorites.

Those old songs have great melodies. Group bellowing is cathartic, and its trace will linger in my heart as a present-tense presence at least through tomorrow. The effects of group singing, when it's happy and loud, can last with me for days. It then remains as a memory, but of the past, not the present.

Happy Birthday! A very happy birthday. The boy enjoyed the hubbub. He's a party baby. And he sure liked the cake.
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