Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Things That Happen in the Car

“Can you try it in jazz?” my daughter pleads with her brother in the backseat.

My son instantly breaks into a smoky rendition of Old MacDonald Had a Farm—smooth mellow tones, complete with a well placed improv line from Louis Armstrong’s Wonderful World tossed in after the ducks belt out some bluesy quack riffs.

Here a (bluesy quack), there a (even bluesier quack)…and I think to myself, what a wonderful world…”

My son’s ability to make noise is rivaled only by his quick wit. He can turn out creative renditions of well known songs on a dime. We first discovered his gift when he was about three and began singing “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” like a choir of toothbrushes. Imagine a lot of swishing where the rowing bits happen. We badgered him relentlessly, asking him to entertain us with renditions of the tune from all sorts of choirs. I don’t remember how many he did, but I do remember that he nailed each one without even pausing.

Last night on the way back to Yellowstone after dinner at the Internet pizza café, we entertained ourselves by challenging Brandon to sing renditions of Old MacDonald to music genres we randomly selected from XM radio. He nailed dance, rap and metal Old MacDonald, but fumbled with Gospel.

Meanwhile, much of our daughter’s time has been invested as the trip secretary. She logs miles, expenses, creature sightings—and all our conversations.

When controversy breaks out, she quietly flips to a page in her log book and begins reading transcripts from earlier conversations about the disputed issue. It’s been long assumed that family life would run more smoothly if we could secure the services of a court stenographer who was perhaps interested in moonlighting with some residential work. Judging from the current situation, it appears everyone would just become very careful about what they say. Maybe that isn’t such a bad thing.

Any time anyone says more than two consecutive words she missed, she frantically calls what was that? or she just simply repeats some preposterous version of what we said so we’ll be forced to repeat ourselves.

Although she’s been pretty observant on the trip, it’s come to light that there’s plenty both she and her brother missed along the way in life. On the way to the stable yesterday, it came to light that my son never knew I had horses as a kid. During the course of that story, we found out that the kids never knew their great grandmother ever lived anywhere other than the house she lives in now. Soon distant relatives were introduced, historical facts were unearthed and history was preserved.

I hope someday they will remember to tell their kids about the big trip of ’07 when they sang Old MacDonald for two hours. But thankfully, if they forget anything it’s all on record.

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