The Dreary Day

“Dreary” my Mom would say as she looked out the window, “such a dreary day.”

Mom used to look out the windows a lot during the Winter, and she hated the dreary, rainy days like we are having lately. She didn’t much like winter at all after Christmas was over and done with. I have to admit, I’m much the same.

On sunny, warm days Mom might go around with her dust rag, polishing the coffee table and end tables and hum some country tune she heard as a child. She could sing on tune and in key if she wanted to, but would never let anyone hear her if she could help it. She would clown around most of the time, and act silly with it when she sang.

She once told me she wanted to be a country music singer when she was a little kid, but her Daddy had made fun of her once when she was singing, so she never sang for anyone after that. It was a shame, because in the unguarded moments when the sun was shining outside, I could hear a spark. I loved it when the sun was shining as a child, and Mom was happy. It didn’t happen too often, because Mom’s personality became dark very early on due to mental illness, and stayed that way off and on until she died.

As far as the singing goes, she had done the same thing to me when I was little also, but probably hadn’t realized it. I had heard Elvis singing on T.V., and stood in the doorway of our home on Simmons street and belted out my version of “Hound dog” Mom burst out laughing at me. I think it was because she didn’t know before that moment that I actually could sing. I was embarrassed. I wouldn’t sing out loud for anyone after that, until the year I was in the eighth grade.

I was in “Glee club” at school and we were singing as a group with band director John Corruth as our director. It was at Christmas and we were doing a version of “White Christmas” I was really into the song, and with the seeming anonimity of others around me singing, I was belting out my best Bing Crosby version. “Hey Bowers” said Mr. Carruth. “I want you to sing the first verse of that song at our program as a solo”. “You sound pretty good.”

My face went bright red, and I almost ran out of the rehearsal area, which was at the front of our Elementary school cafeteria. But…I ended up doing it, and although I was extremely nervous, my voice didn’t break. I went on to do a lot more singing during High School. If it hadn’t been for that one situation with Mr. Carruth though, I may not have.

My parents didn’t come to that program. I can’t remember them ever coming to any of the “minor” activities we did at school. It’s not that they weren’t interested, but it was more that the programs took place during the hours in which they worked. I wish they could have been there sometimes.

As my Mom got older, she was beset by a bevy of health problems which finally took her away in December of 2010.

But sometimes during the dreary days of winter, like the one today, as I dust the bookshelf or the T.V., I can hear her gently humming a country tune…..

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