other day I was thinking about the games I used to play in the schoolyard when
I was a kid. The most popular ones back then were hopscotch, jump rope and ball
(as in bouncing a ball, not pitching one).
rhymes we used to recite while playing these games – probably because of how
absurd they were – still are stuck in my head even after all these years.
example, I remember one rhyme, to which we would bounce a ball: “Bouncy, bouncy
ball-y, I broke the leg of my dolly. My mother came out and gave me a clout,
and turned my petticoat inside out!”
pretty sure the mother in that rhyme would be arrested (or committed) if she
did those things nowadays.
there was the famous jump-rope brainteaser. While jumping, you had to go
through the alphabet and think of a man’s name, a woman’s name, the name of a
place and an occupation for each letter, in order. The letter B, for example,
might have gone something like this:
my name is Barbara, my husband’s name is Bob. We come from Boston and we sell
bananas.” It wasn’t advisable to copy
someone else’s creation, either. The next person who had to use the letter B
had to think of something original, like Bonnie, Billy, Baltimore and boots.
you couldn’t think of anything to fit a specific letter, however, you lost a
turn and the next person jumping had to pick up where you left off. I always
thought the game was pretty easy until it came to the letter X. No one ever
wanted to get the letter X, mainly because it never failed to start arguments.
my name is Xena, my husband’s name is Xavier. We come from Xanthus and we sell
inevitably would say, “Xena and xylophone start with the letter Z!”
“They do not!” someone else would shout.
“They only sound like Z-words!
They start with an X!”
there is no such place as Xanthus! You made that up!” another would protest.
not! I looked it up in the
we didn’t have a dictionary or encyclopedia out on the playground, we had to
take the jumper’s word for it. But we always suspected that any place that
started with the letter X had to be a fake (although I later did find out that
Xanthus actually was an ancient city in Asia Minor).
letter Q was no picnic, either. I always got challenged whenever I used
“Quintella” or “Quarantina” for the female’s name.
it really didn’t matter what I said because I usually ended up tripping over
the jump rope and nearly breaking my neck long before I ran out of ideas for
the alphabet letters anyway. So I was doomed to lose my turn no matter what.
then, when picking sides for teams for games, we didn’t use the regular “eenie,
meenie, miney, moe,” rhyme. No, we learned a more complicated one that made no
sense whatsoever: “Eenie meenie, ucastini, ah boo bumblini, acha-bay, acha-boo,
out goes Y-O-U!”
was one girl in the group, Diane, who, when the “out goes Y-O-U” part didn’t
end up on the person she wanted, inevitably would continue to add words until
it did. For example, “Out goes Y-O-U…and the cow says ‘moo!’”
suppose it’s safe to say Diane liked to manipulate things in her favor when it
came to playing games (that’s a polite way of saying she cheated.)
I’m wondering about a rhyme I learned when I was really young, and if anyone
else remembers it the way I learned it. It was supposed to be: “Ring around the
rosie, a pocket full of posies. Ashes, ashes, we all fall down!”
it wasn’t until I was an adult that I discovered it was supposed to be “ashes.”
I learned it as, “husha, husha, we all fall down!” Now I’m wondering if I might
have learned it that way because my ears were full of wax and I misheard it, or
if anyone else actually learned it that way.
of course, there was the rhyme I heard more often than I cared to: “Silly Sally
went to town, walking backwards, upside down. On the way, she met a pig – a
silly pig. They danced a jig.”
Sally was immortalized in rhyme for being backwards, silly, and for not knowing
which end was up.
pretty sure it was written specifically for me.
late husband and I always were notorious for wearing out televisions. After he
retired, we became even more skilled at killing them off. He was a morning
person and I’m a night owl, so he’d usually be getting up as I was going to
bed. That meant the TV ran about 18 hours a day, seven days a week.
husband also wore out remote controls on a regular basis because he was in the
habit of changing the channels during every commercial, just in case he was
missing a better program elsewhere. I’m pretty sure remotes weren’t meant to be
used 50,000 times a day. Inevitably, the buttons on them usually ended up not
popping back out after he pressed them.
it came as no surprise a couple weeks ago when my TV, which is a little over
five years old, started to shows signs of biting the dust. To be honest, I was
surprised it hadn’t coughed and kicked up its feet (well, its TV stand) a long
time before then.
wandered into the electronics department of a large store a few days later and
cornered one of the clerks.
does it mean when the TV screen starts to get gray streaks on it?” I asked him.
could tell by his expression that the time had come for me to start picking out
a headstone for my TV.
means your module is going,” he said. “It can be a gradual thing, where you’ll
keep getting more and more streaks as time goes on. Or it can be sudden and the
screen will just go blank.”
thought of watching an exciting movie for two hours until nearly the end, when
the detective says, “We’ve caught the murderer and his name is…” and having the
screen suddenly go blank, prompted me to ask him what he’d recommend for a new
he said, “my preference would be the LG HD LED.”
hadn’t heard that many letters used in once sentence since back when I was a
toddler learning how to recite the alphabet.
watch a lot of sports?” he asked me.
you probably won’t need a Smart TV.”
saying I need a dumb one?”
laughed. The trouble was, I was serious.
TV he ended up selecting for me, based on my specific needs, was about
$500. He said, “I guarantee that ‘Wow!’
will be the first word out of your mouth when you watch it.”
couldn’t remember the last time I’d actually said “Wow!” So I went home and
decided I just might splurge and return to buy the TV. Alas, the next day, with
fiendishly bad timing, my property-tax bill arrived in the mail. Suddenly the
gray streaks on my current TV didn’t look all that bad to me.
few days later I happened to be in another store and spotted the same TV…on
sale for only $398. I couldn’t resist.
I bought it.
there I was with a 42-inch TV in about a 100-inch box, stuffed into the back of
my car. It wasn’t until I got home that I said to myself, “What the heck are
you going to do with it now?”
managed to drag it out of the car and into the breezeway before I grabbed the
phone and considered dialing 911. I
soon learned, however, that getting the new TV into the living room wasn’t
going to be my biggest problem. Removing the old TV was. It, according to the
specs on the paperwork, weighed twice as much as the new one. I knew there was
no way I’d be able to lift it from its current spot and then hoist the new one
up there – not without my death certificate reading, “Cause of death: flattened
by a TV.”
my friends Nancy and Paul came to my rescue. Not only were they good at lifting
things, Paul actually knew which of the 120 wires behind my TV connected to
things like the satellite dish, my DVD player, my telephone line (I still live
in the Dark Ages and need a land line to connect to Pay Per View) etc., without
turning them into something that resembled the tangled mass of Christmas lights
I have in a box in the basement.
the new TV was all set up, Paul asked me what I was going to do with the old
one. He, by the way, personally thought the gray streaks barely were
told him I’d probably put in under the “free stuff” listing on Craig’s List and
then pray someone might want it.
eyes lit up and he turned to look at Nancy. “We could use it,” he said. “It’s a
lot bigger than the one we have now.”
don’t have room for it,” she said.
can make room!” he said.
had visions of him taking a sledgehammer to one of their walls.
rolled her eyes and sighed. “Boys and their toys!”
finally not only convinced her to let him have the TV, he also asked her to
help him carry it out to their car, which was parked way out in the driveway.
About a quarter of the way to the car, Nancy said her back was killing her and
had to set down her end of the TV. I
was thinking it might be the perfect opportunity for her to “accidentally” drop
the monstrosity, but she picked it up again and carried it the rest of the
way. My job was to open the doors for
them and also the car door. In other words, I had the easy part.
now I have my new TV, and the picture is so clear, I honestly can say I
actually have said, “Wow!” quite a few times. I can see the freckles on an
actor’s face or each of his individual nose hairs, even when I’m standing out
in the kitchen. Which, I suppose, can be either a good thing or a bad thing,
I’m hoping my old TV will give Paul and Nancy a lot of use before it conks out
on them. I have the feeling, however, that if the TV does die in the middle of
a really good movie or a major sporting event, it just might mysteriously show
up on my doorstep.
New Year’s resolution this year was to either do something new or go somewhere
new every month, and so far, I’ve managed to keep it. I’m pretty sure it’s the only
resolution I’ve ever kept.
Memorial Day weekend, in keeping with my resolution, I went somewhere new that
was only ten minutes from my house.
Saturday morning, my friend Emily happened to mention she had gone to the Shire
Vocal Summit in Pembroke Village the night before and was going again that
night. She added, “Vinx and all of the entertainers were amazing. You should
come with us tonight. My treat! Gotta rush!
I’ll talk to you later.”
honestly had no clue what she was talking about. The last time I’d heard the
word “shire,” it was in Lord of the Rings and was where the Hobbits lived – and
I was pretty sure there weren’t any Hobbits in Pembroke. And what was a Vinx?
Something Egyptian…like a sphinx, perhaps?
made me rush to my computer and do an online search for Vinx to see if I could
find out anything beforehand. I learned he actually was Vinx De’Jon Parrette, a
talented musician, singer, songwriter, percussionist and professor at Berklee
College of Music, who had released no fewer than 15 CDs and toured or recorded
with the likes of Stevie Wonder, Sting, Cher, Herbie Hancock and Sheryl Crow,
among others. And if that weren’t enough, he also was a former Olympic athlete.
This Vinx guy obviously was no slouch.
also learned that he and his partner, Jennifer Lambert, had transformed the old
Town-Line Printing building on Main Street in Pembroke Village into the
Dreamsicle Arts and Entertainment Group, complete with a recording studio and
soundstage. There, they hold workshops, songwriting sessions and provide
mentorships for artists of all kinds. And they frequently spotlight the
artists’ talents by holding performance showcases, which are open to the
one of these showcases was where I agreed to meet my friend Emily and her significant
other, Dan, that night.
last time I’d been in the building, it still was a print shop, so I was
surprised when we entered and it looked more like someone’s living room –
sofas, coffee tables, artwork on the walls, and a big table of food and drinks.
The only thing that distinguished it from a typical living room was the
immediately were greeted by Jennifer, who made me feel as if I were a long-lost
friend coming to visit. She introduced me to dozens of people, none of whose
names I could remember 30 seconds later, other than Vinx’s (heck, I’m lucky if
I even can remember my own name on most days). Jennifer then offered me fudge
I knew I was going to like these people.
wandered into another larger room where there was a colorfully lit stage with
folding chairs set up in rows facing it. A drop-dead gorgeous guy was
introduced to me (can’t remember his name, either). He smiled and said, “Hi!
Are you a musician?”
unless you count ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star’ that I played on my violin when
I was nine,” I said.
told me he was a guitarist. I tried to keep him talking for as long as
possible, just so I could stare at him…even though I was pretty sure I was old
enough to be his grandmother.
overhead lights dimmed and the stage lit up. Emily, Dan and I took our seats as
Pam, the emcee, took the stage. She was wearing knee-high boots covered with so
much glitter, when the spotlights hit them, they nearly burned out my corneas.
She had a terrific sense of humor and immediately warmed up the audience.
the performances began. First there was Flynn, a talented singer/songwriter
with a thick Irish accent. His original song, “Human,” was sung by Cher in the
film “Stuck on You.”
He began by singing a song called, "White."
"It used to be called White Horses," he explained, "but with my accent, everyone thought I was saying White Arses, so now I just call it 'White,' to be safe!"
He was followed by Emily Musolino from Durham, North
Carolina, who sounded amazingly like Janis Joplin. And then there was Kenny
Wesley, nicknamed the “Soulful Nerd,” who could sing in more than four octaves.
One minute he was singing from somewhere down in his toes, and the next, high
enough to shatter glass. His rendition of “Amazing Grace,” was indeed amazing.
I don’t think it would be easy for any singer to duplicate his rendition of the
Kenny, Adam Falcon’s vocals and powerful guitar playing inspired a lot of
people in the audience to get up and dance, especially when Vinx, playing a
hand-drum, joined him onstage.
woman seated in front of me really got into the music. She bopped her head,
shook her shoulders and waved her arms in hula-dancer types of gestures. And
then she stood up and wiggled…a lot. I decided to remain in my seat, but only
because I thought the last thing the people behind me needed to see was my rear
end wiggling. It probably would have blocked out their entire view of the
evening ended with a jam session where several of the artists seated in the
audience got onstage and added something different and personal to the song,
“Ain’t no Sunshine.” Somehow, they all blended together perfectly.
the guests mingled with the performers, enjoyed refreshments and were able to
purchase CDs, if they wished. I told Emily Musolino I thought she sounded just
like Janis Joplin. She smiled, rolled up her sleeve and showed me her tattoo of
Janis. Then she said, “But fortunately I don’t drink a fifth of Southern Comfort,
like Janis did, before I go onstage!”
thanked me for coming and said, “In the future, I’m hoping to draw more people
here, especially the locals. Maybe I can get my friend, Sinbad, to come perform
the famous comedian?” I asked.
didn’t get home until nearly midnight. I hadn’t been out that late on a
Saturday night in about ten years. My husband used to like to go out to eat at
3 in the afternoon and be home and in his pajamas by 6.
now I can add going to the 2014 Shire Vocal Summit in Pembroke Village to my
list of “new things” I did, in keeping with my New Year’s resolution.
I plan to go again? I’ve already added
my name to Dreamsicle Arts’ mailing list so I can be notified of upcoming
the next new thing I want to try is zip-lining. That is, if I can find someone
who’s brave enough to go with me (and who won’t lecture me about being too old
and putting myself at risk for a broken hip!).