dare to be different

On the Mic

10:00 am, day before the break. A little girl, longer-in-the-back bob hair, white knee socks pulled up around her plump calves. Green jumper dress with the criss cross candy canes on the front. White blouse with a ruffled collar. Rows of kids sitting on the floor on lines, criss cross, looking up at me. It was the first grade Christmas program, Mrs. Bellamy had chosen me for the solo in “Jingle Bell Rock.” I stood, shaking, right up near the mic, stepped forward to belt out the bridge, clear and strong as I could: “what a bright time, it’s the right time to rock the night away…”

I’ve been singing and speaking into the microphone for almost as long as I can remember. Most of the time, people smile back or look intently. Solos, speaking parts, conference presentations, even karaoke. For me, it does not feel weird to be in front of the mic.

These days it’s in the press box at my daughter’s lacrosse games. It’s not a hard job, really. Just saying names for the rosters and goals, reading a few paragraphs. It doesn’t take much effort or expertise. Just time and willingness to be there. Still, as several people have told me, no one else wants that job. No one.

What is it that people fear with the mic? My biggest fear is not remembering to turn it off (which has gotten me into a bit of trouble once or twice!) I’ve heard some say they’re nervous about reading names. As a person with an easy-to-mess-up name, I get that. I’ve heard every variation of my last name, both near misses and far-fetched. People giggle. But my daughter said people commented to her that “no one ever laughs at the way your mom says the names.” Her response: “My mom reads for a living.” I laughed. Touche from the daughter of a librarian who loves reading aloud.

Really, it was singing in many different languages as a little kid that gave me some comfort with unfamiliar words. I do hope I at least come close to the correct pronunciation!

I still don’t really know why people avoid the mic. For the time being, it’s what I can do to help the team.

Just a little wondering and wandering for your Wednesday.

family

A Cast From the Past

61469695070__78323B44-AB24-4FF4-B9B0-8417A87A342B 2

Sometimes you run across a piece of paper that stops you in your tracks.

I was going through some boxes of old family “stuff” when I found a large old brown envelope of sympathy cards.  After sifting through several of them, I realized they were cards sent to my maternal grandmother when my grandfather, her husband, passed away.

Holding those cards transported me back to when I was about 6 or 7 years old.  He was the first person that I can remember dying.   I recall I had a solo singing Jingle Bell Rock in my school first grade Christmas program. I wore a green dress with candy canes on the bib and a white blouse with a scalloped collar.  I remember my mother wasn’t there to see me sing.  At that age, I couldn’t really understand what was happening.  Why my mom sat slumped over on the bed, her back to me, sobbing.

All I knew was my mother wasn’t there to see me sing.

Flipping through the cards now. So many beautiful cards, most simply finished with a signature. Names I didn’t know. People who loved and remembered.

Then, a different kind of card.  No lilies or angels or cursive sympathies.  Flat. Engraved with black letters. Someone had given a book to a library as a way to honor my grandfather’s death.  And it was a book about fishing.

It was a full circle moment for a couple of reasons.  First, I am a librarian.  So a book memorial has special meaning for me.  And then, my daughter, Dianne, who bears the name of my mother, loves fishing.  So knowing there is a book out there, in a library somewhere, all about fishing, to honor my granddad felt both sublime and bittersweet.

Finding that card was like a cord running through generations. A moment of connection with a long distant past. I had no idea my grandfather loved fishing, even though he lived a stone’s throw from Lake Chautauqua.  It was a smile down from a man lost decades ago as well as his daughter, to me and my own daughter who shares her name.

IMG_1432