Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Rose of Tralee

My day had a plan, and I even had a first line for a new blog: “My hair looks like this because I read the Bible.” If you could see my hair, and if you read the Bible, you’d know what I mean.
So there I was, pouring granola onto my yogurt, when the phone rang. It was Deb, the secretary up at church, calling to tell me that they were going through Alex’s papers.
Alex is - well, was - Alexandrina Brannon, right wing warrior, raiser of birds, former employee of Walt Disney (she once told me that she commuted to work with Roy, the “mooseketeer” because they were neighbors), and bereaved mother of her son Kerry, who died in 1994.
She was a tiny and fiercely opinionated woman, hell on wheels, really, and we all loved her. For the last ten years or so she seemed right on the brink of death as one catastrophe after another hit her: falls, pneumonia, and so on. She survived so many close calls that I was kidding myself that she was immortal, but on Ash Wednesday evening, she finally passed.
What Deb called to tell me was that Alex had specified in her funeral directions that I sing, “The Rose of Tralee.” Also, I’m supposed to do a duet of “Danny Boy” with Wally Fletcher, another church member.
I have one week to get this act together. The service is next Monday, at 4 p.m., at the Church of the Holy Spirit. I abandoned my plan for the day and went to my friend the internet where I immediately found not only the lyrics for The Rose of Tralee, but a midi of the melody. Whew. I’m saved.
It is a beautiful Irish melody, and I’m learning it. I got out my guitar to learn the chords, which are pretty simple, but the midi version is in A flat, and then modulates to B flat. By the grace of God and a capo, I figured it out.
So now I have seven days to learn it well enough to sing it confidently for Alex. I have hope.
Now I’m going to call Wally and talk to him about “Danny Boy.”

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