Sunday, October 17, 2010

“Cornell vs Bucknell… why?”

ROOFTOP – “Memory. All alone in the moonlight, I can smile at the old days,
I was—“ Oops, sorry about that. There’s not a moon out tonight and I’m not cat, but that just seems like a song for now.

I can sing louder, but it’ll wake up the dogs in the neighborhood. The least little thing. My voice isn’t all that bad, is it? I say my singing voice isn’t—Thank you. That seemed forced, but I’ll take it, Brenda.

I was asked to take choir in elementary school. Did you know that? Yes, Mrs. Page recognized that I could sing. She wanted me bad. But, I never took choir at any time in school. For one reason, I knew I’d have to learn to read music. I couldn’t do that. Makes no sense. You’ve got your flats and eighth notes and treble clefs. “Class, we’ll do this one in C sharp!” Give me a break.

The main reason I have an untrained voice is because I didn’t want to have to wear a sissy choir robe. The choir always sang at the Christmas assembly, and I hated the thought of standing out there in a robe. And, the teacher would make me do a solo ‘cause my voice is so great and – What? One of you keeps mumbling and it’s most irritating.

I would look like the poor sap on the left.

Anyway, it would’ve been embarrassing for the guys on the football team to see me. They would’ve made fun. If you ever watch “Glee” you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Isn’t it weird how just one thing… or one fear in life can keep you from taking a chance. If I could go back, I would join the choir and become the singing defensive safety. – “Coach, that defensive back over there keeps singing ‘Who’ll stop the rain?’ He’s freaking me out.” – “Oh, Number 11? He’s the singing safety. Next time you’re out there, see if he’ll sing some John Denver.”

I’ll probably dream something like that tonight. If it’s weird enough, I’ll dream it. Speaking of weird has nothing to do with Jill’s visit last weekend. My kid sister was a bit down. One of those, -- “Are you, okay, Sis?” – “Yeah, I’m just… I don’t know.” -- You ever get like that? Can’t explain why, but you’re seeing things through a fog of the blues.

Jill and I usually experience the same stuff. Except kidney stones. She’s never had ‘em. And, I’ve never had a child. But, I’ve been one. -- Beg pardon? More mumbling.

Anyway, Jill was feeling down, so it was my job to perk her up. It’s what I do. I should’ve dragged her buns up here, but didn’t think of it. No, I decided to use football to cheer her up. Saturdays during football season are the best, Jerry. Unfortunately, Jill hates to watch football, but that’s because she seldom watches it with me.

I tape all the games with my DVR and fast forward through the parts where no one is running. I can watch a three-hour game in 20 minutes. Yes, I know the game clock runs for about an hour, but a lot of that time is spent in the huddle or getting up off the ground. I don’t care to watch stuff like that.

Watching the games in fast-fast motion wasn’t doing it for Jill, so I tried something else. I thought I’d create some competition between us. Hayters love to compete. I hit the guide button on the remote and looked for games in progress. I was looking for teams that were unfamiliar to me. Found one right off the bat. Cornell was playing Bucknell. I don’t know why. But, more of a mystery was why did a network exec think that the game should be nationally televised?

I told Jill the school names and told her that we were both to guess the school colors of each team. Doesn’t that sound exciting? I said, doesn’t—Thanks, again, Brenda. Jill guessed that Cornell’s colors were blue and yellow. I was freaked, ‘cause I guessed the same thing. We’re not even twins.

Jill guessed that Bucknell’s colors were brown. When I told her that she only came up with one color, she said that’s all Bucknell has. She was really taking a gamble on this one. I guessed red and black. Had a vision.

So, I then turned to the game. You could’ve knocked me over with an I-beam. Cornell’s colors are red and white. We weren’t even close. Bucknell has more than one color and it sure isn’t brown. They’re navy blue and orange. All the good colors were taken.

I intended for us to also guess the mascots and the location of each college, but Jill just wasn’t into it. I can tell stuff like that. We watched the game for only a few minutes, because it wasn’t taped. The stadium was small and the crowd was no bigger than what you’d expect to turn out for a game between The Woodlands and Conroe. A decent crowd for a high school game, but surely not for college.

After a minute or two, I turned the TV off and we talked. I don’t think I cheered her up much at all. -- “I’m okay, Moke.” -- Jill calls me Moke. I asked her if it had anything to do with Lynda? Our big sister passed away with Alzheimer’s a few years ago almost to the day. Jill said it had nothing to do with that, but thanked me for bringing it to her attention. I ended up giving myself the glums. Jill helped, though.

To tell the truth, that’s really why I climbed up here tonight. Wanted to see if the night sky would perk me up. And, the first thing I do is start singing one of the saddest songs around. “Memory.” You know the part of the song I was coming to? It’s “I remember the time I knew what happiness was…”

And, I do. Thing is, we could never know happiness unless we experienced the down moments. Might say that the glums are a gift. I didn’t mention that to Jill, because I just now thought of it. That’s the beauty of coming to the rooftop.

On that note, I will now finish the “Memory” song for you. -- Hey, wait! No running on the roof! -- Well, that’s just rude.

“Touch me, it’s so easy to leave me, all alone with…“


To catch Mark and Brad’s Vietnamese restaurant review, go to YouTube and type in Mark Hayter Van Thong. -

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