“Yes. i can play “Amazing Grace” on the guitar at the service. You want me to sing it, too?”
Do you say “no” to a cousin who asks you to sing a hymn at a memorial service for her dead husband just because you’re a secular humanist?
Although he died in December, 2009, my cousin recently planned an internment ceremony for the cremains of her husband. She didn’t want anything fancy, nor a lot of attendees – she mostly wanted his ashes out of her closet.
i’d known about the service for a few months, and had already planned to attend. Had even worked to finish the renovation of the guest room/office so i could bring Mom to visit me Friday night, and then bring her with me to the service this morning.
The request for musical support came on Wednesday. Enough time for me to blow the dust off the guitar, try a few chords and respond with confidence that i would be able to tease appropriate noises from the strings.
Arriving this morning, the minister suggested we do four of the six verses of the hymn.
daisyfae [attempting to hide shock]: Oh, yeah! That’s right… Six verses….
Reverend Lovejoy: How about doing the first, second, third and sixth?
daisyfae: Ummm… Yes! That would be perfect. Uh… Can i use the lyrics on your podium?
Six verses of “Amazing Grace”? Who the hell knows all six verses of “Amazing Grace”?
Tuned up the guitar, and stashed it in a convenient spot. Sat next to my cousin up front. And tried really hard to steal glances at those lyrics as the minister started the service.
After the final prayer, it was time.
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me….
[Well… the ‘wretch’ part is accurate at least…]
Through many dangers, toils and snares…
we have already come.
[Yes. i have survived participation in religious services before…such as my wedding.]
When we’ve been here ten thousand years…
bright shining as the sun.
[No. It just seems like ten thousand years… Is this the last verse?]
Turns out, there are some seriously grand acoustics in a marble-encrusted mausoleum chapel. It also turns out that my eyesight is sufficient to read a 14 point font at arm’s length.
i sang my little atheistic heart out, faking enough sincerity to avoid the galactic taser.
The greatest challenge, however, had nothing to do with acoustics, vision or my personal beliefs.
Did you know that the most effective way to get rid of an ear worm is to do the following:
Sing the lyrics of “Amazing Grace” to the tune of the “Gilligan’s Island” Theme song.
Go ahead. Try it.
Not as hard as you might think. The more difficult rendition is to sing the lyrics of the “Gilligan’s Island” Theme song to the tune of “Amazing Grace”. Which i have been recently trying to do…
The greatest catastrophe avoided this morning? Not launching into:
Just sit…. RI-iiiight baaaaaaack, and you’ll hear… a tale….
A tale… of a fate-ful TRIP…
image found here. who knew?
* You can also do “Amazing Grace” / “House of the Rising Sun”. These guys do a festive job of managing to mix up all three… And if you spend any time trying to do any of these permutations? You can rid yourself of the most vicious ear worm!