It’s been raining steadily in Seattle for five days and five nights. Following a long cold summer, our gardens are mildewed, slugs are out-of-control, weeds are going amok, and our few straggly flowers have long since gone south for the winter.
I was sitting here at the computer gazing morosely out the window at my sodden yard, when suddenly I received an email from Linda. The subject of the message reads “Let’s all hold hands and sing and dance in the rain.”
I will need to explain about Linda Atkinson. Linda used to be our family optimist, but as she grew in proficiency and experience we promoted her to angel-in-residence. No recognition could be more deserved. No matter that the world is at its bleakest, that our hopes have withered for an income tax refund, that the Mariners lost again, — Linda’s emails will come through for us. She is there to console and comfort and encourage. She lifts our spirits. She gives us hope for a better tomorrow. She helps us achieve our dreams. Usually. But not today.
I read the email. It said that wonderful things would happen in the rain if I would “click here”, so of course I did. I always do. I count on Linda to help me through each day.
I was routed to YouTube and there I was treated to a performance of “Singin’ in the Rain” by Gene Kelly. This isn’t going to work, Linda. I know you want me to grab an umbrella, run outside and burst into song, but I can’t. It’s too wet out there and, worse yet, I can’t sing. Don’t you remember? I’m a Catholic.
Traditionally in my church, the rule is that you can be a good Catholic or you can be a good singer, but not both. At our parish, St, Bridget’s, we have a world-class choir but I think they serve as hired help or else they are all mutants who were baptized on another planet. The rest of the congregation are just normal Catholics. This means that when we sing along with the choir as Father is always encouraging us to do, we do sing but we sing very, very quietly. Sometimes we just lip sync.
This frustrates our pastor no end. Father doesn’t have a very good voice either but he has enthusiasm. And determination. And he can really belt out a song. Sometimes he makes us sing the hymn over again a second time. “I couldn’t hear you”, he’ll yell. “Sing it again. SING IT, dammit.”
One reason he can’t hear us, may be because of his own volume. Father seems to think that we can learn by his example, but it hasn’t proven to be an effective strategy. We continue to sing very, very quietly. like we don’t want to wake the baby. Personally, I think that whenever Father goes to Mass in other parishes, he sits in the pew and sings along just as furtively and quietly as everybody else. Otherwise, nobody would sit next to him.
So there you have it. Linda has failed me for the first time. This will be a day without singing and dancing in the rain, a day without sunshine. But I am strong. I know I will be able to face the future valiantly because Linda will be sending me another email tomorrow. Perhaps it will be more helpful than today’s was.
I’m counting on it.