Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Daily Ukulele

Happy summer! I had the honor and privilege of attending the Puget Sound Guitar Workshop a few weeks ago, and found rejuvenation and inspiration among the Douglas firs, amid which one could hear strains of strings and joyful voices during almost all day and evening hours. In addition to taking classes from the talented, humorous, and all-around Good People Joe Miller and Cara Luft, I was inspired by ukulele musician James Hill (from whom I did not take a class, nor did I participate in one of his jam circles) to pick up the much-neglected Flea my mom got for the family years ago when Dan Zanes recommended it to help jumpstart the ukulele revolution.

This is a B7 chord.
This past weekend, I visited my aunt and uncle on Orcas Island, where there were a couple of ukes and guitars hanging out. My uncle brought up how great the uke was, and said, "You cross-train on days when you don't run, right? The uke is cross-training for your guitar, and you will learn things you don't learn on the guitar." I was convinced! We practiced for a couple of days and performed for the family "Wade in the Water," "When the Saints Go Marching In," "Tiny Bubbles," and the Beatles' "I Feel Fine." (My uncle to the family: "Tight harmonies on the singing." Me to the family: "And if you can't do tight harmonies, sing with exuberance.")

I picked up a copy of the ukulele songbook my uncle had, called The Daily Ukulele.  This morning, I practiced the chords for The Sunny Side of the Street, a melody I've played for years as my joyful, get-up-and-go theme song. Out in the street, I could not help but sing it and dance-skip. My daughter called out, "Everybody, this is not my mother."

I'm an embarrassing parent who dances and sings in public. I couldn't be more proud. It's not about my daughter's mortification. It's about my liberty from the "sobriety of my youth."


jama said...

This post makes me so happy! I love that you like to sing and dance in the street. :)

My dad played the uke when we were growing up. His signature tunes: St. Louis Blues, and Old Black Joe.

tanita✿davis said...

As long as you don't take up spitting, I think we're in good shape. A uke is a reasonable compromise to make up for the sobriety of your youth.

Rosalinda Batson said...

I LOVE that poem. My mother always wore purple.... And I embarrass my children all the time although they don't know it yet as they are still young and just think that we are having fun.

Glad I am not alone. Lovely post. :-)

Saints and Spinners said...

Rosalinda: I am glad your kids know that you are having fun, and are unaware as of yet the mortification of the idea that people are watching them. You are not alone!

Tanita: Thank you. Rest assured, I will not take up spitting. I like things that belong in the digestive tract to stay put.

Jama: Your comment makes me happy! I will look up those songs. That's another thing: I am learning so many songs that are new to me.