As the choir sings, I think back to when Dad was alive and how we used to stand side-by-side at Christmas Eve services and harmonize during the carols. I miss that. I'm not a fan of organized religion these days, but those moments seem sacred to me as I look back. They were never planned, we just knew that we would harmonize, him on tenor, me on bass. There were a couple of songs we never got quite right, but that wasn't the point anyway.
So my voice joins the warbly chorus, as does Mom's. I notice another voice joining in as well. I glance over and see Uli's Jr and Sr-the younger sitting rod-up-his-ass straight, arms folded across his chest, the elder, slouched in his metal chair, grimacing behind coke-bottle glasses. Mrs. Uli Jr's somewhat wobbly soprano trilled along with ours. About half the gathering joined in song.
We all joined probably the last three songs, including silent night, which I recently learned on the ukulele. A pretty tune, sublime lyrics. Peace surrounded by a dangerous world.
As the singing ended, we all began talk of music. I mentioned to Mrs. Uli Jr that Mom had sung at the Loring Opera House as a teenager. Mrs Uli Jr was not from around here, so the comment had little impact. Mrs. Uli Jr had told us that she too had been a fine singer at one point, but was now out of practice. She said that her voice sometimes felt uncomfortable. I noticed that pretty much any time you talked about someone at the table, she would manage to bring the subject back to herself. Her whole demeanor was that of someone who was used to grabbing attention and making sure things turned out the way she wanted them to.
Mom, who probably could have taught voice, gave her some advice about how to use her voice. Again, I'm not sure that Mrs. Uli Jr really paid attention.
I told her that, if she wanted to get her voice back, she should buy a ukulele. I told her that it was an easy-to-carry, handy-dandy way to accompany one's self and keep one singing for hours on end. I had been playing for a couple of years now (three I guess) and it helped me re-discover music and become independent of piano players and other accompanists.
Again, she could not have cared less.