There was a funny song a while back about a man going into Lidl or Aldi to buy a few loaves and rashers and leaving with a chainsaw, a wetsuit and a portable generator. I have been that man… well apart from the wetsuit and maybe the generator and the chainsaw!
I mean, I know the aisle he is referring to and have wandered there, leaving the trolley with vegetables, meat and what I planned on getting minding its own business as I looked at things I never knew I needed.
I had this experience just before Christmas and though my unplanned purchase from the centre aisle was inexpensive, it was something I had not imagined seeing, never mind bringing home with me. A harmonica at €5 – I mean, how could I not buy that?
For many years I had sang The Little Drummer Boy at Christmas Masses and added the bongos (now that I think of it, from the same aisle) to the tune some years ago. I wondered if maybe I might manage to play the tune on the harmonica, just for something different.
My nephew had steered me in a different direction a year earlier when he said he had wondered what I might bring to Christmas Mass for a change, maybe a smoke machine or an electric guitar, but “no”, he concluded, “the drums again!” (I paraphrase so that I do not lose my spot on the back of The Irish Catholic!).
Anyway, I brought it home and when I put away the essentials, I took a look at my new musical instrument and went from there to YouTube and was pleasantly surprised to find a very helpful man showing me how to play The Little Drummer Boy on the harmonica. I can do this, I thought …I watched, listened, blew and drew and something like notes were coming out. I kept it secret but enjoyed the thoughts of maybe adding something new to a tune I dearly love. I chanced it, people were kind and my nephew was shocked. More than that, I could not ask for.
I believe we should share that tune that we all have with in…”
Since then, I realised the €5 harmonica in the key of C was not up to the job, so I bought a more expensive one, not crazy expensive but maybe €30 and it sounded better. Since then I bought a few in different keys.
The same man on YouTube introduced me to other songs I liked, Blowing in The Wind, The Fields of Athenry, Leonard Cohen’s Hallulujah, How Great Thou Art, Nearer My God To Thee and I found others like The Town I Love So Well, Forty Shades of Green, Raglan Road, Were you There and more – they passed a bit of time for me during “lockdown”.
I love music and I love a song that tells a story and a singer who delivers it and a musician who plays it. I think we all have a tune in us. More than that, I believe we should share that tune. Since I live alone, I have shared a few attempts on my blog and Facebook, and I have noticed my dog move to another room when he hears the first stirrings of ‘the harp’!
You might well wonder what this is all about? I think it is about being willing to give something a go, following a dream and letting a €5 harmonica find its way into your trolley and then, maybe upgrading it a little.
Maybe it is about leaving the door open so that the dog can walk into another room too! I think it is about wanting to improve and knowing that we need to watch, listen, spend time, make mistakes, learn and add our tune.
Green lists and green shoots
As the Government publishes a ‘green list’ of countries that are less dangerous to travel to and from, I think of green shoots as our churches return to public worship.
It has been such a strange time and our return was maybe less than we had anticipated.
I encouraged people to come to Mass during the week to lessen pressure on numbers for the weekend.
It is pleasing to see more people at weekday Masses.
I love the sight and the sound of them – people gathered and people praying. Bit of a green shoot, I believe.