Monday, December 20, 2021

Falalala Lalalala


A couple of weekends ago, Joe and I, along with our friend Janice, attended a Christmas concert performed by the Marietta Pops Orchestra, held at Marietta First Baptist Church.  


 Joe and I had moved to Marietta, a former small town and current suburb of Atlanta, from real Atlanta over a year ago, but, because of the pandemic, we couldn't get a good feel for all that Marietta has to offer.  Plus, we were a little snobby.  The bad thing about living in Atlanta is, duh, the traffic, but the good thing is access to fine dining and the arts.   

So, when we arrived, in the rain, at Marietta First Baptist Church that evening, our expectations weren’t particularly high.  We figured the church would be just as beautiful inside as it is outside, and it was.  But the Marietta Pops Orchestra? Really? How could they hold a candle to the Atlanta Symphony? 


But, Oh Holy Night!, they were amazing.  I don’t know enough musical jargon to adequately describe what we experienced but those folks could play.  There were regular violins and those big violin-looking things that sit on the floor.   And horns!  French ones and trombone ones and those little piccolo ones.   There was even a guy with a triangle. I'm telling you, that Baptist front altar area was full of people who knew what they were doing, and we felt lucky to be there. 


However,  this post isn’t really about how great the Marietta Pops Orchestra is.  It’s about how much Joe loves Christmas music and what a bad singer he is.  

Although Joe and I had known each other for over twenty years when we met up again, there were still many things we didn’t know about each other.  We started dating in the Spring, so we had quite a bit of time to reconnect as Spring turned to Summer and Summer turned to Fall, and thoughts of Winter and Christmas began dancing in our heads.


But I quickly found out that, for Joe, the Christmas season comes musically sometime in early November when he cranks up his car Spotify app with the likes of Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer and Bob Dylan’s Christmas album.  Let me be clear.  Early November, not after Thanksgiving November.  

That first early November, before I knew what hit me, The Carol of the Bells was playing on Joe’s car radio when he arrived to pick me up.  Not only that.  He was singing along. I think.  


I’m not sure what Joe does can be described as singing.  I would call him a one-note wonder, but doing so would be way, way too generous.  That’s because Joe’s one note isn’t a note at all.  It’s some mysterious guttural sound that one might make if one were perhaps digging a deep ditch in inhospitable soil. 


Poor Rudolph, poor Santa, poor Frosty, poor sweet Baby Jesus, the man has no pity. He’s an equal opportunity carol abuser. There is one notable exception, however.  Joe’s a master “rum-a-pum-pum"-er when enjoying The Little Drummer Boy.  He even gives it a flourish, a rolling of the “r” in “rum”. 

But, back to that recent Saturday, you can imagine how thrilled Joe was when, right there on our performance program, he observed that a section of the presentation would be a sing-along.


All I could hope for, on that bleak early Winter’s Night, was for God to rest my merry gentleman so we could all have a silent night. 


Which we did, as the Marietta Pops Orchestra completed its superb performance to a standing ovation, and we drove home, quietly enjoying the Christmas lights around the Square. 

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

I Have No Words


Well, maybe not no words.  I have plenty of words.  I just can’t always find them. 

Joe will tell you that a lack of words is not a problem for me, since I seldom stop talking.  But what I mean is certain words at certain times.  For example, I'll have a word I want to say; I can actually see the word, but before I can get it out of my mouth, it flutters away, and I’m left bereft and abandoned without it - at least for a while. 

When I talk to friends my age, I realize I’m not alone with this problem, although I have other friends who don’t suffer from this at all, enough to make me fear that my synapses have over-snapped themselves. 

In most cases, nouns are the problem. I do OK with verbs and adjectives and adverbs and gerunds and participles and past participles and oxymorons and, most notably,onomatopoeia.  Why nouns?  Nouns you can see in many cases, so it seems they would be easier to recall.  However, for me, it’s not the meaning; it’s the sound, the articulation of the word.  For example, just recently I was talking to friends, and I was trying to tell them that I had just purchased a poinsettia at Publix.  Exciting repartee, I know. As soon as I got close to saying poinsettia, it just flew away like a pigeon with a day-old french fry.  Hydrangea perched instead, as did portulaca, dahlia, daffodil, and daisy.  But, being Christmas time, I knew that the missing flower name was none of those.  When my friends kindly helped me out, we moved on. 

Nowadays, I can’t take part in any conversation having to do with Hollywood or popular culture.  If I do, it goes something like this: “Remember what’s her name who used to be married to what's his name, but she’s married now to what’s his name and she’s in that new movie what’s its name?” 

All I can say is thank goodness for Google.  What on earth did old people do before Google? 

My worries about my problem are exacerbated by the test I am now am required to take as part of my annual physical checkup.  The test consists of having to remember three items, and then drawing an analog clock with its hands pointing to a specific time.  Being a former second-grade teacher, I am all over that clock even though analog clocks haven’t been used by anyone younger than 45 since the turn of the millennium.  It’s the three items that cause me to lose sleep the night before my check-up.  The first time I was given the test, I wasn’t expecting it, and I could only remember two of the words.  When I later told Joe, who was having his physical at the same time in a room down the hall, he said he made a perfect score.  I found that hard to believe so I asked him his secret.  He told me he wrote the three items down on the sheet of paper they gave him to draw the clock.  When I guffawed and accused Joe of cheating, he maintained that no one told him he couldn’t write the items on the paper, so it was okay and, in fact, indicated good problem-solving skills. 

I now use my own trick to outsmart my doctor.  I envision myself immersed with the three items.  This last time, I saw myself eating a banana while sitting in a chair while looking at the moon.  So far, that has worked, but I hope they don’t change the test next year.  In addition, it would help if they would give me the banana and the chair and the moon again. 

Of course, we all know that, as we age, we have burdens.  For some of us, it's arthritis or cholesterol or diabetes or hearing or vision or other physical problems.  But for most of us, it’s the thought of dementia that scares us most. As we look for signs, we stay vigilant and do what we can to hold it off. We take medications we purchase from the internet; we complete our crossword puzzles, we sign up for classes at our community college, we volunteer, we exercise, and we eat our fruits and vegetables. We do what we can to shore up our bodies stimulate our minds.  

And, in my case, I guess I start my blog back up. 




Sunday, December 5, 2021