Monday, August 22, 2011

Me...on the Trap Set?


   "So I heard you played the drum in highschool," Deb said with a smile.  "Why don't you play for our Ladies Prayer and Worship Night?"

     "I did...but that was 25 years ago.  I-"

     Allison cut in, "Can you just keep the beat?  That's really all we'd need.  It would be better than nothing."

     "Well, yah...I'm sure I can keep the beat...but I never played the trapset.  I'm not that coordinated.  I- Why don't we just let a guy play the drums?"

     "It's a girls event. Nah...nope, it just wouldn't be the same.  Can you do it?"

     "Well, I s'pose, but-"

     "That'll be great.  We'll let you know when we practice."

      I came home from that meeting feeling uneasy. No wonder.  They simply think I'm a little rusty.  That's not it!  I never, ever played the trapset.  I played one thing at a time, whether a snare drum, a cymbal, the bells, whatever...but I only played one thing.   They think I'm being modest.  They think I can do alot more than I can.  Shoot I'm a horrible multi-tasker.  My brain does only one thing at a time.  I know.  I've lived with this brain a long time.  Shoot I can't even cough and walk at the same time.  I have to stop and cross my legs.  But then, that's another issue.

     So Deb called several days later to see if we could practice on Saturday morning.  We did. 

     "Just pretend you're a kid in the water."

     Kid in the water?  Thoughts of being a 6th grader and standing on a diving board for 45 minutes, asking again and again, "how do I come back up after I  jump in?"  Somehow the answer, "you just will" wasn't working for me.  I felt more nervous than ever.

     Deb continued, "Splash around.  Have fun."

     Have fun?  Who was she kidding?  This will be about as fun as the day the doctor pulled my fungus laiden toe-nail off. 

     "Let's start with an easy song.  How about "I'm Counting on God ?"

     "Do we have sheet music," I asked timidly.

     Deb smiled, "No drummers ever asked me that before."

     "I'm not really a drummer.  Trust me.  In highschool every other drummer was irresponsible, did not know what they were supposed to be playing and didn't listen to the band director but boy could they improvise.  Deb, that's not me.  I read the music.  I don't know how to improvise.  Can you tell me what to play?"

     I immediately felt that the little chicken in the Foghorn Leghorn Cartoon.  Deb was being so amazingly patient, but I couldn't help but think that to a natural musician like she was, I must be really irritating.

    "O.k.  just start with the kick and then add the ti.i.i.-ti-ti-ti.i.i-ti-ti-ti?"

     "Um...what do you mean by kick?"

      Deb started tapping her foot, "You know the kick?"

     "The base?" I asked.

      Deb nodded.

      I looked at the array of choices in front of me.  I felt like I was at Best Buffet and I only got to pick two choices.  Um.m.m. I had 1,2,3,4,5 cymbals and 1,2,3,4,5 types of drums. 

      "What exactly am I hitting when I do the "ti.i.i.-ti-ti-ti.i.i.-ti-ti-ti?"

      Deb hesitated,"The hi-hat and the snare."

      I looked at all of the cymbals surrounding me.  I looked at all of the five drums, too. "Is a hi-hat a cymbal?"

    Deb nodded.  Quickly she left her spot and came over to me.  "This one," she said, tapping the first cymbal.

     "Which ti in ti.i.i-ti-ti-ti.i.i.-ti-ti-ti.i.i is the hi hat?
     "All of the them.  But you should throw a snare beat in there, too."

      I no doubt had the 'No speaka Espanol" look, because patient Deb, said "Here let me show you."

      I jumped up.  She sat down.  Immediately she ti.i.i-ti-ti-ti.i.i-ti-ti-ti.i.i.ed.  She looked like a natural.  Too bad she can't play the drum and the lead guitar part.  As I watched her continue to play, I began thinking, Shoot.  I bet she can play both parts.  Look at her!

     "Got the idea?" she asked.

     I nodded.  It looked easy now.

     Deb jumped back to her spot and started the song.  She looked at me to begin.  I started with my base.  Boom, boom, boom, boom.  I added my ti.i.i-ti-ti-ti.i.i-ti-ti-ti.i.i. for a measure or two.  I knew I needed to add my snare, I did, and my boom, boom got off.  I shook my head.  I glanced up at Deb.

     She smiled.

     I tried again.  I did it....I did it!  I glanced back down at my foot tapping the base, cute toenails I thought.  (It's the first time they'd been painted in 3 months.)  Oops, I lost my beat. 

     I glanced back to my foot and got back on beat. 

     Well, practice pretty much went like that x 90 minutes. 

     "It must feel great for you to be back on the drums?" Deb asked as we were turning the church lights off.

     I smiled.  "Did it look like I felt great?"  Actually I felt more like I do when I come home from work and find dog vomit on the living room carpet. 

     When I told my husband I had to be ready to play for Thursday's Praise and Prayer Service, his eyes grew big.  "You on the trap set - for this Thursday?"

     "You better practice every day."

     I nodded, getting that sick feeling again.  The next evening at 8:00, I asked my girls if one of them could go to the church with me to practice. 

     "What do you need us to do?" Madison asked.

     "Sing the song so I know where I'm at.  I can't sing and play with two hands and one foot at the same time."

     "Oh, o.k., I'll go," she said. 

     I turned on Deb's taped background music she had made for me to practice with.  Madison started singing.  I was doing mostly o.k., until I had to switch from the snare to the tom-toms and lost a few beats.  I got back on beat and-

     "Hey, can I try it?" Madison asked.

     "Seriously?" I asked.

     "Yah, that looks kind of fun."

     Hope filled my heart as I slid out of the seat and Madison immediately started banging around.  She looked like a typical irresponsible drummer, just beatin' around and trying out all the different options.  Yes!  Could it be?  Was this the 'splashin' around in the water' that Deb was talking about?  The thing that structured, do one-thing-at-a-time me, could not even attempt to do?
     You can guess the rest of the story.  'I'll do it, mom," Madison said nonchalantly. 

Jehovah Jireh...God provides!  I was willing but I was certainly not the best man for the job. 

     "Wait," Madison said, "when is this thing?"

     I held my breath, "Thursday night at 7.  Why?" 

     "Phew!  We were supposed to have soccer practice then, but coach changed practice to 4:00.

     Jehovah Jireh - God did provide tonight.  And no one is happier than I am!  No doubt we will have many ladies praising and worshiping God on Thursday night, but I'm guessing no one will be praising and worshiping more than me!

Thursday, August 11, 2011



   "So why didn't you plan a campin' trip with me?  Huh?"  I asked Matt, with  eyebrows raised.

     "You'd wanna go?"

     "Of course!"

     He looked at me like I had just said "Let's scrub all the toilets in the church for fun."

     "No really, I would," I said.

     "Well o.k.  Let's go then!" Matt said smiling.

     After a quick check of our schedules (he's only home for two weeks) it was clear we didn't have much open space. We settled for Tuesday, leaving after the Junior High's Registration (at 7am) and returning on Wednesday (at 11:45) for Matt's dentist appointment.

     Yes, not exactly a long camping trip.  Yet in some ways it might be a perfect first primitive camping experience for me.

     Then we ran into my brother-in-law, Shane, at the registration.  "Do you know how hot it's supposed to be today?" he asked. 

    "Yes, very!" I said, "but this is the only time we can go."

     "Seriously," he said.  "It's supposed to be 118 with the heat index.  That's gonna be miserable."

     Shane got me a little worried.  Should I cancel?  But there was no way to reschedule!  It was today or not at all.  But I hate sweating, I hate bugs, and this primitive camping trip would probably be full of both of them.

     Matt and I went.  We pulled into Pere Marquette State Park in quaint little Grafton, IL.  The ride down along the river was gorgeous.  We had the windows down and the praise music on.  This was the life.

     We quickly picked our camping spot, an adorable shady place alongside of a gorgeous um, oak, I mean elm, er gorgeous deciduous tree.  We quickly set up our tent.  It only took five minutes but in that short time I felt a continuous stream of sweat running between my shoulder blades and cling to the layer of fat around the back of my waist.

     I gotta get a sweat rag, I decided.  I quickly grabbed a t-shirt from my bag and wiped my forehead, back and belly with it.  Gross!

     "Ready to hike?" Matt asked.

     "Absolutely," I said. 

     Matt pulled out the map with all of the trails marked.  "Let's do the green trail," he said eyeing the map and leading the way.

     Thankfully I had grabbed my sweat rag and Matt had slipped it in his backpack along with three water canteens and granola bars.  I am disgusting. I looked down at my shorts, I literally had sweat lines on my shorts and tank top.  Now don't get me wrong, the lines did not mark the little area the sweat ran, the lines marked the miniscule area no sweat ran.

     As we walked around this little watering hole thing, I said, "Hey, why don't we jump in?"
     Matt looked at me like he used to when he was 8 and I said, "Time to take a bath."

     I laughed like I had only been kidding, but I really wanted to.  I figured clean water dripping down had to be better than sweaty water dripping down. 

     It soon became apparent that this was a difficult trail.  I don't even know if I'd call it a trail.  It was more like a training ground for Mount Everest.

     Matt, the leader, kept turning around, "You o.k. mom?"

     "A' course" I whispered hoarsely.

     "You need water?" he asked

     Do I need water?  Do I need water?  I've only sweatted one full gallon of water  and if I took off any of my clothes I could wring out another, but do I need water?

     "No, I can wait till we get to the top.  I think.  Is it almost here?"

     Matt looked at me a little worried like. 

     It reminded me of the time we took my grandparents to Disney and the look on our faces as we yelled, "It's here.  The tram's here.  Are you comin?'  And then the disappointment as my slow grandparents came shufflin' along just as the tram pulled away.

    "Matt, are you worrying about me?  I'm fine."

     "Then why are you breathing like a seal?  Here grab some more water," he said handing me a canteen.

     By the time Matt and I hiked the green trail and back to our campsite several hours had past.  We got our supplies out of the jeep and set up camp.  Just for the fun I turned on the jeep and checked the temp...104 degrees!

     No, I did not turn on the air and stay in the jeep, I was a primitive camper.  We collected our firewood for the night.  Matt played his backpack guitar.  We read. 

     Matt decided it was time to make our supper.  We had mac n cheese and tuna on top.  Then we built the fire.

     "Do we really need a fire?" I asked.  A stinkin' hot fire was the last thing I wanted to feel after a stinkin' hot day.

     "Oh yes, it'll help keep the bugs away," Matt said as he carefully positioned the twigs and newspaper.

     We decided to slide our tent a little closer because we could tell the bugs were coming out.  Sweat droplets formed on the sweat streams as I climbed into our tent.  Don't complain.  Don't complain, I told myself.  Matt has not complained once. 

     Well o.k., he did once. "Mom you are not hooking your camera on your belt loop.  That looks rediculous!"

     "Look at me," I said.  "Ya think a small camera'll make any difference?"  But I took it off anyhow.   Why spoil our adventure? 

     Matt climbed in and we quickly zipped up the tent.  As we lay in our little 2-man tent looking up we saw them.  No, not stars!  Tiny, buzzing mosquitoes gathering into the little peak in the middle.

     "Matt, I can't take those!  It's been a long day.  I'm hot.  I'm stinkin.  I'm not gettin' eatin' alive tonight.  I grabbed the flashlight.  I shined it towards the clump.

     "There!  Get 'em!"   I shouted, aiming the light from side to side.

     Matt half-heartedly flapped a hand against the tent top, scattering them, and killing none.

     "Matt, I'm serious.  I'm not going to sleep until we kill every mosquito.  There!  Use both hands.  YES!  Keep going!  There!  Over there!"

    After twenty minutes Matt decided he'd be the flashlight holder and I could be the mosquito crusher.  Ten minutes later we were dripping in sweat and there were still more mosquitoes.  Matt dropped the flashlight and grabbed the Off Spray.  Holding the nozzle up, he sprayed up into the peak of the tent.  Little particles of smelly, fumey Off came wafting down all over us.  Air...

    Coughing, I lunged for the door, unzippered it just enough to squeeze my head out and, flamey, ashey, fire.

     I felt like crying.  I could take hot.  I could take stinky.  I could take sweaty.  I could take buggy.  But did I have to take NO AIR?!

     Recoiling from the heat, I pulled my sweaty, hot, disheveled, head back in, while quickly rezippering.

      "What were you ocean breeze?" Matt asked with a smirk.

     I started laughing.  He smiled. 

     "I'm actually not sweating right now," he said in disbelief.

     I waited a second, "Well I am."

* Today Matt and his dad left for their 3-day camping trip.  It is 86 degrees.  I got a text that said, "We are in Kaintuck Hollow at Natural Bridge."  I'm really happy for them.  :)    

Monday, August 1, 2011

Go Cards!

On Tuesday we went to a Cardinal Baseball Game against the Houston Astros.  Only Meredith and Madison were with us.  (Matt was leading On-Goal soccer camps and Michaela was at church camp.)  It's amazing how much quieter our jeep is when we only have those two.

Anyhow as we beelined through the crowd to find our seats, we exhaled as we discovered that just as Bobby had planned, our seats were in the shade.  Woo Hoo!  That in itself was enough to make me want to do 2 front handsprings, 1 cartwheel and 2 roundoffs.  Since I can't do any of those, I simply sat down, smiled at my man and said "Great seats!"

I must admit as I looked around, I thought nine innings.  That's alot of time to watch baseball.  No offense baseball players, but as one who has watched more soccer than any other sport, I'm used to watching continuous play.  (I mean, baseball's like watching as much commercial time as show time.)

Anyhow inning one began.  No one was in front of me so I propped my feet up on the seat ahead of me.  It was perfect. As Madison and I decided, although we weren't particularly hot, the back of our legs kept sweating because (we reasoned) those red plastic seats must draw out sweat.  So once my feet were up on the seat ahead of me, air could circulate, and those nasty seats wouldn't affect me.

Just as John Jay was getting ready to bat, a couple appeared in front of us.  They smiled at the girls in their row and said "We'll just sit in these two end seats if you don't mind.  Then we won't have to go through your row."

"That's fine," the girl nearest the end replied.

I looked at Madison as I quickly pulled my feet off the seat ahead of me and placed my legs back on the sweaty red seat. 

"Too bad they didn't ask us..." Madison whispered.

I nodded.

As John Jay hit a great single into a hole in left field, the man turned around.

"Hey, this is our first time.  We've been wanting to come to Busch Stadium for a while.  It's nice here."

"Where are you from?" Bobby asked.

"Arlington, Texas," he said.

"Ew...are you rooting for the Astro's?" I asked, being the die-hard Card fan that I am. :)

"Not really," he said.  "We're big Texas Ranger fans."

At this point his adorable wife turned around.  Looking at my girls she asked, "So are you big baseball fans?"

Bobby and I smiled.  Just before they sat down, he caught Meredith looking out into the field instead of at the batter getting ready to hit.

"Over there, Meredith," Bobby had said, leaning down to catch her gaze and directing her where to look.

"Uh, not really," Meredith said.

I glanced back up at the sign.  Top of the 2nd?  Wow...the game was actually moving along.

As the wife continued talking to my girls, I noticed the man was talking to Bobby about his profession.

"Yah, we make and market fasteners," he was saying.

"Fasteners?" Bobby questioned.

"Yep, any type," he replied.  "Fasteners are on everything, whether its a screw and bolt...why look at these chairs they have a hinge-like fastener."

As I looked at my plastic red chair, the sweat seemed to ooze out even more, sealing my legs to them like the man's hard hat to the wooden beam on the old super-glue commercial.

I looked back at the man, who was now explaining that their main customers where commercial.  That was a little boring, so I tuned back into his wife...

"So if you could have Christmas in July, what would you wish for?" she was asking Madison.

"Well, actually my birthday's in a week.  So I'm already kinda plannin' on getting this, but it's to redo my bedroom."

"What are you going to do?" she asked.

"Well, I want to paint it....probably like a peach color.  I'm not sure about my trim, maybe I'll go with a shade of green."

I glanced back to Bobby and his new friend.  Bobby was now talking about being a pastor, soccer coach, auto racer, etc.

I marvelled.  Who was this couple?  I glanced back to the scoreboard.  In only two and a half innings they had become friends of the family. 

Inning four, I watched the wife strike up a conversation with the young 20 somethings sitting to her right.  Inning five, they were coaxing the 3-year-old in front of them to do the wave with the rest of the stadium.  Inning six, they were talking to the fifteen-year-old boy in front of them, about his favorite sports.

I quickly decided....I liked them! 

I discovered that the fastener business must be in their blood.  They sell fasteners.  They are fasteners.  They have a way of taking whereever they are and whoever they're with and connecting to them.

I liked them even more when we finally exchanged names,as they were leaving.  I glanced up at the scoreboard, Already the top of the 9th?

Yes, "We're Becky and Tom", they said as they reached over the back of their seats and shook each of our hands. 

How cute is that?  Our friends, the fasteners!  The Card game wouldn't have been the same without them!