I spent the afternoon with my Mom at the nursing home yesterday. There were a lot of fun activities, but my pick for Activity of the Day was the 2:00 p.m. Sing Along. Many of the residents had their wheelchairs parked around the wall by 1:00 so as to have the best seats. Mom and I arrived a few minutes after 2, but we were still able to get well-positioned before she joined about half the other participants in falling asleep.
Without fanfare (or introduction), singing guy and his piano playing wife launched right into "What a Friend We have in Jesus" segueing into "Amazing Grace" and "Rock of Ages". Then things got tricky. He started asking residents if they could identify the songs. They could, and sang them by heart. Wait a minute....I don't know any of these songs! I used to sing in the choir....I should know SOME of these.
Feeling, hymnally illiterate, I started flipping through the pages. Then I noticed them: The Notes. I remembered the voice of my music appreciation professor in college: "Baptist hymns have eighth notes and quarter notes. Episcopal hymns have half notes and full notes." There were all those perky little black eighth notes and quarter notes skipping and tripping all over the pages. No fat, full circles embracing entire measures to indicate their decorum and civility. Nothing to indicate any relationship to the Bachian hymns of my short-lived stint as a member of the choir. And one more reminder of my half-baked Liberal, Southern status as little old ladies who could not remember where they were from minute to minute sang all the words, joyfully, to songs I had never heard.