05 August 2003

An unusual household rule?

When I was growing up our family had a rule that might be considered unusual in a less musical household: no singing at the table during meals. The fact that this rule had to be invented in the first place obviously indicates that there was a need for it. We all simply sang a lot -- around the house, outside doing chores, while playing, and so forth. We would have done so between mouthfuls had this rule not been promulgated by our parents.

This proscription has been carried down to my sister's household where her daughters have also had a tendency to display their musical proclivities at inappropriate times.

And now this evening, as Nancy, Theresa and I sat at the supper table, Theresa started to sing, caught herself, and then ended with "Don't sing at the table."

They say the movie "Chicago" may bring back the musical. I suppose I wasn't entirely aware that it had fallen out of fashion. It never seemed to me at all unusual that Julie Andrews would belt out a Rogers and Hammerstein song while on the bus to Captain von Trapp's palatial home. Or that Rex Harrison and Audrey Hepburn (neither of whom was exactly skilled at singing) would rhapsodize about the rain in Spain on the spur of the moment.

Even now I almost always have music running through my head. Most of the time I don't sing audibly, because I know that, unlike Andrews on the bus, I would catch the stares of curious strangers. However, I do whistle a fair bit, something marginally more acceptable than singing outright in a public place.

But -- never at the dinner table.

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