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My mother Mae singing with guys--no doubt as the high tenor!

My mother Mae singing with guys–no doubt as the high tenor!

Oh for certain we sang this hymn at my mother’s memorial service. Her life had been one long song to the next, something I’m sure she passed on to me when I was yet in her womb. How can I keep from singing?

Though I am not the musician she was, I am musical, often in ways I don’t even recognize. I never stop hearing the beats in all kinds of music. My toe can be found tapping out some tune even when my brain isn’t aware of having a song in that head of mine. I hear the fluorescent light’s buzz that often echoes the one being sung by the bass section in choir. Snippets of songs run just below my consciousness levels and sneak out when I least expect them to do so.

I sing the blues, I sing nursery rhymes, I sing praise, I sing advertising jingles, I sing Broadway tunes, I sing corny Americana songs taught to me by the banjo-playing music teacher who was not my mother, I sing classic rock and (crappy) pop from my youth. To my family’s dismay, I even sing random ZUMBA songs. It’s just one long (or short) song to the next in my head—and sometimes out loud.

And my life is so much better for it. My family of origin, for better or worse, was always breaking out in song, something my husband pointed out when he first got to know us.

My son might not want to admit it, but he’s been infected by this disease, too—or at least I think that’s what he’d call it when he gets a particularly bad earworm repeating in that lovely broken record format in his head. But it’s a thing of joy to me when I can hear him singing spirituals through the bathroom door and above the running water sounds coming from his shower—oh how proud his grandmother would be.

But I really know life is improving around here when the other half of this family starts breaking out in song too. Just Saturday on the ski slope, my daughter was singing while she skied—something she always did as a kid. And then on Sunday, my husband was making up songs as he created and put together his Easter Day “resurrection” pizza. What music to my ears to hear those two forget to stay silent.

How can I keep from singing? Indeed.

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