Wednesday, October 3, I was grateful to attend Kyle's first choral showcase of the year. His choir performed the first song, a Latin piece called Jubilate. Then, several all-girl choirs sang upbeat Americana songs, each with a handful of solos.
I usually watch with empathetic nausea when I see a soloist step down from the choral risers. Some tip toe timidly to the microphone, and others strut forward with bravado, neither is really an indication of what sound will follow. I have always felt that choir solos were a cruel form of torture. Too much responsibility in too few measures seems unfair to me. Sometimes you imagine the eyes of the choir on the back of your neck transmitting supportive, loving thoughts, and other times you are sure you can hear barely audible, better-not-blow-this snickers from behind. It feels like an eternity stands between you and the two or three measures that must pass before you turn around and face the choir behind you. Will you feel triumphant or defeated?
But this time, right in the middle of something completely untypical of inspiring deep thoughts, O Susanna, or something of that genre, I started to imagine a new scenario. What if this life is really as brief as a three measure solo, and death is like turning around and rejoining the choir, and when you face them, everyone you see, begins to sing again...please let it be a South African gospel piece for me... and the choir is made up of everyone you know and love and some of the people are people that you just met in passing but you are surprised at how comfortable they are, and how you feel like you have known them forever. I have had dreams like that where familiar people appear but in different roles..which makes it seem to me that if life is so short why not live it again and again until you get it right, sometimes taking on a slightly different role, and sometimes doing something drastically different. It seems to me as if we are doing that, and some people are on a much more advanced verse than I am.
So I started to get teary eyed in the middle of the American numbers-- even before the combined choirs sang A Simple Song of Peace, with American Sign Language and everything, which made Grandma Martha and I both teary, and ready for the election to be over.
And just to be honest, when the concert choir came on stage after the other choirs, I immediately noticed that the strength of the male section made their choir stand apart from the others. Then I recognized a bass voice, that managed to blend with the other singers, but filled out and colored the sound. It was a particularly familiar voice that I'd heard often-- mocking my opera music-- or booming at his sister, and was now on stage making me particularly proud. Kyle it is a blessing to hear you sing.
This photography doesn't make anyone proud. You'd think I'd know enough to switch on the auto focus. I can't even see which one is Kyle.
This was Saturday afternoon. The girls had a great time at a sleepover at Grandma Martha's, so our house was particularly quiet for the Saturday sessions of General Conference. Ben made his favorite treat, which I have insisted he commit to memory, so we don't have to dig the recipe out from the remains my favorite cookbook, which is so loved, the pages have left the ring binder and are terribly out of order, and I just have to use my intuitive fingers finding skills to pull the right recipe of the mess of flour crusted pages. I have absolutely no self control around Ben's Blondies.
Saturday evening I loved watching the three big boys walk across the yard dressed in suits to meet Granddad for the priesthood session. It is somewhat of a tradition in the LDS church for men to attend this evening session for men with their sons, grandsons, friends etc, where the Prophet and other leaders give talks on strengthening faith and family. This must be hunger inducing for males because afterwards the local fast food restauraunts, particularly in Utah, are swarmed with suits. I happened to be in the freezer section at Smith's at around 8:30 and met up with a hoard of hungry men elbowing their way towards the Rocky Road ice cream. We escaped with two boxes of Neopolitan and Brownie Fudge.
But before that the girls and the younger boys and I took a ride out to storage. I had no idea the ninety bucks a month I pay to have a garage again would also serve as part of the entertainment budget. The kids were so excited about the errand that when we piled out of the van Sophie, who had caught their contagious enthusiasm, raised up her arms and shouted "Yea!! Garbage!!" Enthusiastic but confused.
It is true that our storage unit is in a particularly beautiful part of town, the southwestern most area where there are small farms and horse fields, right before you get to Utah lake. It was a gorgeous fall evening, the type that seems to give off a delicious and spontaneous scent of something toasting. Storage happens to be next to a KOA campground so this particular cool, breezy, autumn leafy evening, the air was so filled with the scrumptious smell of campfire that I was almost overwhelmed by the romance of it.
And combined with this view, which is so exciting to the OCD side of me...stuff where it belongs...it was a wonderful moment.
The kids' excitement had more to do with getting stuff out, than putting it away however, as is usually the case. This time we were gathering Halloween decorations, winter coats, and sleeping bags for our upcoming road trip, so there was a lot to stir emotion.
Sunday we enjoyed watching the second day of conference talks on television in our home, after the fighting that arose after I suggested we clean up all the stuff we brought back from storage died down. I was impressed by one idea that seemed to be repeated throughout several talks: follow the inspiration to serve others. We have been blessed so often as people have followed inspiration on our behalf. Saturday it was a delicious box of cinnamon rolls that a friend brought by our home. They became our traditional conference Sunday cinnamon roll breakfast. I was grateful for a little less work.
In the evening Grandma Julia came down for a visit. She brought a trunk full of pumpkins from her garden, and each child was able to choose one.