Saturday, December 09, 2006

Any old random weekend

I've had the hardest time lately getting back to blogging about...well, me. You know, the life that I live behind the reviews, news notes and somewhat interesting quotes? Yeah, that life.

Despite my elusiveness here on Meneltarma, be assured my life has been no less interesting. And in particular, all sorts of things tend to accompany the holidays as most can testify. And for lack of a really good summation of my entire life, I'll settle for relating the events of last night.

It was not a dark or stormy was, in point of fact, quite balmy. Working conditions had been temperate for a change, and I enjoyed the bonus of having thawed hands as much as I could. I took my leave of work at the normal time--also a welcome change considering the overtime we worked on other days--and headed straight for my living room (let the reader understand).

As I sat nursing a hot drink and reading, I suddenly got a call from someone I don't know. I was quick in deducing this particular fact because the woman on the line said: "you don't know me, but..."

It seems someone wanted a bass singer for a caroling adventure of sorts at the Lynden Museum that vary night--or rather, two hours from that very minute. It was a fundraiser and most of the details were lost on me until I actually arrived at the museum at 6:40 or so. I borrowed a vest from the museum and was good to go. It was quite fun actually. The incomparable Claire vg Thomas was present and accompanied us eventually on a stage with a piano. We did a few clever arrangements and called it good for the night.

This was all so strange... My image that it was going to be one of the last uneventful weekends before sometime in February was shattered (boohoo) :)

After taking my fill of meatballs Claire asked if I could take her home because she had come with her neighbor who was going to stay to the end of the event. I gleefully agreed, and if you don't know why, you don't know Claire. There is no distinct set of words that could really and truly describe her to a tee. She is at all times full of life, willing to share, willing to praise God, and ever so thankful for what life she has left in her later 80s. I in no way intended to interrupt her talk in the car for fear of missing some jewel of historical fact or another. She is incredibly sharp--still completing her dozen crossword puzzles and one book a day. With all her broken bones and health issues, she is ever so thankful that her hands are relatively untouched by the decades.

As we drove out of Lynden, she sat there in her grandmother's dress--yes, her grandmother died in the 1920s and there it was looking as good as new, meticulously cared for over the years by the family along with the accompanying hat which she wore just as stylishly as if it were in currently in vogue. She talked of the past with so much clarity, one would guess it had only been a few years and not 60 or 70 ago that it took place.

“I love that quote about music by Leonard Bernstein--I knew him you know…” was just one bit of context she would toss in at any point.

She would at times suddenly interrupt her current anecdote with by pointing to a place along the street.

"That's where I was born," she said, pointing with a touch of pride. "The man in that other house is 50 tomorrow and I'm playing for him..."

Before the evening was out she even related the one of her first times (maybe THE first) performing the Messiah. I'm sure I've heard it before, but that didn't matter--it was just as touching. Incredibly, it was with a group of Jewish students she was teaching at the time. She thought of her post as a way to reach out to them with the gospel and took the risk of using Handel despite the potential conflicts. The day of the performance was set for December 7, 1941. They heard about the attack on Pearl Harbor before the concert and Claire, in her sorrow, proposed they cancel the concert. Her students quickly rejected this idea and Claire was so happy they did. It ended up being a very meaningful performance for the audience.

Thus was my not-so-ordinary Friday evening concluded. I really enjoyed the spontaneity of it all....

I'll try to be back with more of my life if that's alright...

...that is, in-between the reviews, news and...


<< Home 10 Comments:
Blogger Kristi said...

What a charming evening...Claire is simply amazing--what a honor to drive her home!

9:46 PM, December 09, 2006  
Blogger Rebekah said...

I'm so glad you're back in the flesh Markie. I was beginning to miss you under the "reviews, news notes and somewhat interesting quotes." But no matter--these things are a manifestation of your life are they not?

What a lovely way to spend an evening...if only they had needed a soprano too. :) We should get some Messiah people together and go sing at Claire's house before Christmas is over. What do you say?

9:00 AM, December 10, 2006  
Blogger Nathan said...

Too awesome, bro.

And Bek, I'll be there on the 22nd. Um, can I sing too? I know it would be pushing the bounds of y'all's patience, but I missed the Messiah performance for the 4th year in a row. Personally, I'd love to go sing at Claire's house. Or maybe, if you can't wait 'til I get there, you could plan two!? Anyway, whatever....

11:19 AM, December 10, 2006  
Blogger Nathan said...

Oops! Sorry. *3rd year in a row.

11:20 AM, December 10, 2006  
Blogger Anna said...


I am very jealous! I miss her sooo much! Can you do it while I'm there too? Of course you will have to tell me when I am to come anyway. Talk to Mom she'll have to get me the details. Work will be fine with an extended weekend off.

BTW, Nice profile picture Nate!

Love you all!!!

8:33 PM, December 10, 2006  
Blogger Anna said...

Nate this was my first year to miss the Messiah since I was 16! This would have been my 10th year!!! :(

8:35 PM, December 10, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

beautiful, Mark. Sure wish I could hear you all sing. I have a treasured memory of singing with the Reimers-Neff clan in the living room upstairs, hearing parts and harmony and almost swimming in the sound. Miss it. -Beth B

10:15 AM, December 11, 2006  
Blogger Crystal said...

Oh my Mark! I am so happy to hear about this evening. I heard about the need for a Bass from the other end, from the person that couldn't do it and the person that volunteered him in the first place! So very funny to finally hear how it all worked out. I never got to sing with Claire but I can only imagain what she was beyond words. I did get to take care of her in the nursing home when she had her last fall and I had so much fun helping her, cajoling her to eat and listening to her stories. WHat a great memory to have made that evening.
Rebekah I think that would be a wonderful idea...please keep me posted and count me in if it happens. Just let me know when.
Anna we missed you and once again I missed seeing you when you came up. I was stuck out of time as I am sure you know by now but I did have every intention of trying to see you if I had been here. I miss you.

7:34 PM, December 16, 2006  
Blogger Nathan said...

Actually, thinking about it, it IS my fourth missed year. Grrr. Oh, well. Maybe it'll just make it that much better when I return and go directly to Messiah rehearsals next year.

10:08 AM, December 17, 2006  
Blogger Crystal said...

Nathan we will be ever so glad to have you back! Hope everything goes as planned and you are with us once again in 2007.

7:46 AM, December 20, 2006  

Post a Comment