Though I never would have told him, my eight-year-old grandson resembled a cherub, with blond, adorably mussed hair and big blue eyes.
Instead of wings and a halo, however, a choir T-shirt, jeans and tennis shoes betrayed terrestrial origins. Fifty other similarly-clad choir “angels” appeared equally earthbound.
A couple possessed wild hair that defied mom-smeared pomades. Some faces betrayed streaks of hastily gulped suppers.
All had practiced at 7:15 a.m. for weeks. They weren’t even paid overtime.
Weary, yet eager parents awaited the first song. Sleeping babies hung around necks like 15-pound ornaments. Surrounded by tantrum-throwing toddlers and texting teens, these mothers and fathers still showed up to support their kids.
With the first tuneful voices, quiet spread like a sweet epidemic.
Grandparents sucked in the children’s fresh melodies, a Fountain of Youth elixir. We wouldn’t trade these seats for any in Carnegie Hall.
People behind me might have preferred that, too.
So whispered my daughter as she yanked me down.
“But those grandmas do it.” I pointed toward other seniors, poking up through the crowd like prairie dogs.
She hissed, “If you don’t sit, no ice cream.”
Gasp! I obeyed.
An older choir, wearing favorite team hats, sang a spirited rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”
They even sang harmony. If only someone would send these kids to Chicago to do the seventh-inning stretch.
When the third-grade choir strutted their vocal stuff, they sang a memorized song in German. On key, even — unlike many restaurant servers who attempt “Happy Birthday.”
But my grandson’s choir gave me fresh hope that good singing won’t become a lost art.
So did his director, who with gentle, iron words and sweeping gestures, inspired beauty in a hundred kids. Plus, she kept them from killing each other.
Thank God for my little choir boy, who patiently endured a photo op afterward. His great-grandparents sang as they worked, played and prayed. Ditto for grandmas and grandpas, who grew up harmonizing with their families in the car and singing in school and church choirs. So did his golden-voiced daddy and mama.
Maybe, as I did in the past, this little guy will strike deals with fellow servers, earning extra tips when he solos on “Happy Birthday” to diners.
Surely, more applause will await him in his musical future as he shares the song in his heart —helping other hearts sing, too.
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What were your favorite grade-school songs?