Yesterday I went to my grandson’s marching band competition. He is a really good musician. Maybe someday it will develop into something. My grandson plays the trombone and piano, my granddaughter plays the flute and piano, my oldest daughter plays the clarinet and piano, my youngest daughter plays the flute and my wife plays the clarinet. I have trouble playing the radio. Someone once said that most novelists also have musical talent. That is the reason I call myself a storyteller.
When I was young, I taught myself to play the guitar. Many guitarists have taught themselves to play. Kenny Loggins said his brother got a guitar for Christmas and never played it. One day Kenny picked it up, taught himself to play and in a few weeks he was Footloosing in The Danger Zone. A few weeks after I started playing, I had bloody fingers and people compared my playing to a brain-damaged baboon pounding on a bedspring… and those were the comments I took as compliments. Kenny and I obviously had different teachers..
I can read music, sort of—I’m pretty good at the lyrics; the notes’ parts, I don’t have a clue. I’m an excellent singer. When nobody is around, I sound exactly like Neil Diamond, Elvis Presley or any singer you want to name. I can even hit the high notes in Mariah Carey songs. The problem is, as soon as someone shows up, I sound like a cat that has a Buick parked on its tail–again, I take that as a compliment. Often people hear me sing and runoff to listen to Yoko Ono records just to get the horrid sound of my singing out of their heads..
Once, when my youngest daughter was two or three, I was taking her on a short trip. She was in the backseat strapped down in her car seat, and pretty soon she started to cry. (Kids always cry when they are in car seats, because they look at them like convicts look at electric chairs.) I started to sing to her to try to calm her down. In a matter of minutes the backseat was silent. Since I hadn’t thrown the electric switch, I was rather proud that my singing had calmed her, and then my daughter spoke.
My daughter: What are you doing Dad?
Me: I’m singing to you, so you’ll stop crying.
My daughter: I tell you what. I’ll stop crying if you’ll stop singing.
Proving that, music indeed “hath charms to soothe the savage breast.” After that all I had to do was threaten her with a song, and she behaved perfectly. I think there might have been child abuse charges that were applicable, but I’m sure the statute of limitations has long passed..
When I was in high school, two friends and I had a trio. Mainly we sang at church functions, mostly youth group. They always had us sing last in the program. High school kids have a habit of loitering around when everything is over. When we sang, by the time we hit that last off-key note, the place was empty, and in the picture of Jesus on the wall, he had his hands over his ears..
Our minister heard us sing at youth group once, and asked us to sing at the next Sunday morning service. We were thrilled because most people don’t have the guts to get up and dash out of a Sunday morning service–although there were a few who did. We finished and went back to our seats beaming with pride, until the minister got up and said:
“If you don’t get your life right, you may spend eternity listening to stuff like that and worse.”
He had them lined up out to the parking lot..
My novel County Ops: The Vengeance of Gable Fitzgerald was on sale for 99 cents last week. It made it to number ten on Amazon’s women’s action list. I guess that makes me a top ten author?.
sticks     gohpl   cover sm2

About thewritingdeputy

Joel Jurrens was a deputy sheriff for 26 years until he retired in 2013. He has published three novels: In The Sticks, Graves of His Personal Liking and County Ops: The Vengeance of Gable Fitzgerald. He tries to keep his blog light and humorous and sometimes downright silly.
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