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Home Away From Home

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Ireland was so welcoming, that it felt like our home away from home. When we checked into Flannary’s and saw that the room that the staff thought was ready for us wasn’t quite ready, we went back to tell the receptionist. We ended up getting a larger room with an extra bed. Now we had one double bed and two twin beds. Dad said, “One for each of us:  Mama Bear, Papa Bear and Baby Bear!”

Since Papa Bear and I had traveled for hours and were awake most of that time, Papa Bear stayed in the room while Baby Bear and I went to the hotel restaurant. The restaurant was crowded for that time of day. Everyone seemed bubbly as their conversations seemed to bounce off the walls. As we looked at the menu, even though we longed to try an Irish coffee just because of its name, we decided to get a Bailey’s coffee instead.  We knew it would taste better to us.

The waiter looked our way every once in a while in between waiting on tables. When he checked in with us, I admired his lilting voice. Most times I could understand the Irishmen, but when the men talked very fast, it was difficult for me to understand. I was glad to have Katie there to translate for me, even though they were speaking English!

Because Katie and I hadn’t had a good sit down chat for quite a while, we talked for a couple of hours! Lately our only means of communicating had been through Skype or sending in-box messages every once in a while. Not knowing what was new in her life was quite a change for me since I was used to hearing from Baby Bear almost every day.

When Papa Bear joined us, we decided to stay at the hotel restaurant for dinner since the food appeared to be quite good. When Sean delivered our entrees, it was like the comforts of home to sit down and eat a warm meal of roasted chicken with mashed potatoes and veggies. Papa Bear liked his fish and chips, and Baby Bear enjoyed a plate of pasta.

As we munched away, a gentleman who was sitting at the bar, suddenly busted out in song. We had no idea what he was singing, but the Gaelic words and melody were a hit amongst the crowd.  His act of bursting out in song didn’t seem like it was anything out of the ordinary to the staff or customers.  His serenade only lasted a short while, and then he was gone.

As we finished up our meal, it felt like a blessing to have the car safely parked in the lot having survived the travels of our first day.  We were glad to get ready to settle in and get a good night’s sleep on a bed!

Mama Bear’s bed was “just right!”

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Favorite Tune Still Playing!

Samantha turned the pages pretty rapidly and only got stuck on a couple of words.  She sounded the tricky ones out just fine, and I only had to help a little.  As she pulled one book out of her blue knapsack while putting away the other, she looked at me through the corner of her eye, and her mouth bent into a smile.

When she got to the last poem in one of the books, I didn’t think that the poem she read to me would be in a current book.  The poem was written just as I remembered it, and Samantha read it perfectly.  The only thing that was different about it was that it was called The Rainbow Poem.

Listening to those words brought me back to the days when Dad played albums every Sunday.  The Peggy Lee album was one of his favorites.  My favorite song on that album was Sing a Rainbow.  I bent over the phonograph, my belly feeling the pinch as I stretched.  I always counted the grooves and found the spot where I should lower the arm.  The needle almost always fell right in place.  Peggy Lee’s voice would surround the room as she happily sang the colors of the rainbow.  Once the song was over, I placed that needle right back to the beginning again.  My parents didn’t seem to mind hearing that song over and over again or listening to me sing along.

That tune stuck in my head over the years.  As I rocked each one of my babies, I sang that song to them, over and over again.  Even though they are not babies any more, I bet each one of them knows Sing a Rainbow by heart.

I didn’t think to tell Samantha that I knew that poem as she named the colors to me one by one.  Maybe I will see her again the next time I volunteer at her school.  It’s nice to know this favorite tune is still playing in other places instead of just inside of my head!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=TxsHzfpjbHw

Loved Ones Present

Loved ones present and close by my side
Smiling, singing and going in stride

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Help decorate, bake, share some spiced tea
Straightening rooms, just being with me

Setting nice plates, polished utensils
Finding those things, making it special

Gathering ‘round old fashioned table
Eat and enjoy much as we’re able

Laughing at jokes that others don’t get
Talking of days together well spent

Presents opened, wrappings cleared away
Bows and cute bags we’ll use a new day

Little needles prickled our socked feet
Thanks little tree you looked really neat

Time passes by Christmas Day’s gone
Quickly more days are waiting to dawn

Thinking back at the fun times we had
Hoping our gifts made everyone glad

Realizing now our blessings will be
Loved ones present, our special family

Are You a Car Singing Machine?

While waiting for a stop light to turn green last Saturday morning, I turned my head and noticed a lady smiling at me from her car.  It was right after I finished singing what I thought was a lovely rendition of “Dancing Queen” to my favorite audience – me by myself in my minivan!   Either that lady noticed how happy I was or else she thought I was a little strange.  These things happen to people who sing along with songs on the radio while driving in the car, like me.  I admit, I am a Car Singing Machine. 

As a young girl and as a teenager I liked to sing everywhere I could, such as in every room in our house, in the yard, and riding in the car with my older brother.  Unfortunately, my brother did not appreciate my awesome talent as a singer.  For some reason he thought that it was better to listen to the actual singers who were singing on the radio.  He said that he wanted to hear the bands sing.  Sometimes it is hard to hear the truth.

When I finally got my driver’s license, I appreciated times when I was by myself in the car, because then I could sing without disturbing others, and I could be my own true singing self.  During high school I was lucky to find friends who liked to ride around with me and sing with me too.  We even sang with the windows rolled down and shared our talents with the whole neighborhood!  We were like traveling Christmas Carolers who sang more than Christmas Carols.  Now I sometimes like to surprise my children by knowing words to currently popular songs, and we sometimes happily sing together while traveling to destinations.  

It is good for people to sing in the car because:

1.     Singing while driving keeps drivers awake;
2.     Car Singing Machines do not talk or text on cell phones while driving because we are too busy singing;
3.     Learning words to new songs is good for the brain;
4.     Car Singing Machines cause fellow drivers to smile at others while on the road;
5.     People who sing in the car are less likely to have road rage; 
6.     Singing releases good chemicals called endorphins;
7.     No one can hear Car Singing Machines, unless they personally decide to have their windows rolled down, and if the windows are rolled down, they must be good at singing and are not afraid to be heard;
8.     It’s better than singing in the shower because you do not get water in your mouth;
9.     It’s good practice for karaoke night; and
10.  It can be a great way to bond with fellow Car Singing Machines while going on trips together.

Are you a Car Singing Machine?  If not, it’s never too late to become one!  If you are shy and afraid of being discovered singing by a stop light, you can be one of us who only secretly sings while traveling on the highway.  Then only you will know that you are a Car Singing Machine.