Well, they didn't win, but my son's dance company, Pilobolus, with the band, OK Go, was nominated for a Grammy at last night's awards. The nomination was in the category of Best Short Music Video. Here it is:
The parson headed toward the really, really big city way down the road. It was raining. The traffic was heavy. Along the way sections of the interstate resembled a parking lot. But he persevered. It was an important day.
Number two grandchild (that's chronological order) was performing that night. She was to be the soloist in the Sixth Grade Winter Concert. It was an event not to be missed and certainly worth the traffic and rain. The parson pushed on constantly glancing at the estimated time of arrival indicated on his GPS device. He'd left thirty minutes earlier than first planned. But, now, with the standstill traffic, it was going to be close.
The parson walked into the Middle School Cafetorium with four minutes to spare. Other grandparents, daughter, son-in-law, and, more importantly, next-to-last grandchild were there. The parson nodded at the others and held his arms wide for the anticipated leap of the three-and-a-half year old who was not sprinting toward him. He swooped her up, hugged her tightly and headed to an empty seat on the row the family had appropriated.
She plopped herself into the parson's lap. “Look,” she said, “this is my Dad's cellphone. Watch me play this game.”
The parson watched. A family member spoke to him. He looked toward the sound of the voice with an expression that spoke to who was most important in this exchange.
“See,” she proclaimed. The cellphone screen now sowed a penguin, apparently a sign of victory. She squirmed in the parson's lap, getting comfortable for another game.
The members of the Sixth Grade Chorus now began to file into the room. The parson watched intently, seeking the familiar face. There she was, on the first row. There were close to a hundred kids in the chorus. She looked so diminutive in comparison to many of the others. She saw the parson and the other members of her family. Her attempt to remain “professional” wilted as her familiar crooked smile pulled the corners of her lips upward.
“Where's my sister?” asked the lap squirming one.
“There. Look right between these chairs and you'll see her.”
“I see her,” she proclaimed. “She's going to sing in a minute.”
“Shhhh,” came the sound to the parson's left. It was a the son-in-law. The parson presented him with his practiced “She's with me now, butt out” look.
“My sister looks pretty,” said the little one.
“She does,” said the parson. “Do you know why all those other kids are up there on the stage with her? I thought your sister was going to sing.”
“Well,” she replied, turning her hand in a palms up position that seemed to indicate: This is an easy question. “Look, this is their school, too.”
“Yes,” she replied. “They all get to sing.”
“You mean everyone gets to sing even if they can't sing as good as your sister?”
She now rooted herself around so that she was facing the parson. “Yes,” she said, it's like your church.”
“I’m doing okay, I guess, Parson, for someone my age.”
“Good, Mildred. What can I do for you?”
“Now, Parson,” said Mildred after she cleared her throat, “I’m not one of those who’s always trying to stop progress in the church, but I wanted to ask you about some of the songs we’re singing.”
The parson smiled to himself, “Well, Mildred, what song did you have in mind.”
“It’s not that I have a particular one in mind, well, I guess that’s not quite so, you know, we’ve been singing that extra little song every Sunday for a while, and it’s, well, I know you call it a ‘praise song’ but well, it’s, it’s just not very familiar to some of us.”
“That’s why we sing each new one four or five weeks in a row, Mildred. We want everyone to have plenty of time to learn them.”
“Do you mind if I ask who picks out those songs?”
“No, I don’t mind.”
There was silence.
“Who picks out the songs?”
“You pick them out by yourself?”
“I do. I listen to several songs on a recording, and if they are songs I think I could sing I pick them. You know, Mildred, if I can sing it you can.”
“Who assigned you to pick out the songs, Parson?”
“You did what?”
“I assigned myself to pick out the songs.”
“Do you think if more people were involved in picking out the songs we would get songs that more people could sing?”
“I don’t know. I suppose that’s a possibility.”
“Would you consider having a committee to pick out the songs?”
“No, I wouldn’t.”
“I have enough committee meetings now. And when they are over more than likely I’m the one that has to do the work anyway. Mildred, I can’t get a committee to decide whether or not we should support a particular mission project without someone getting their shorts in a wad. I sure don’t want to have a committee picking out songs.”
“Parson, that’s just not like you. That sounds so autocratic. With more input the process would be democratic.”
“Mildred, I really thank you for your interest. And I thank you for the way you are learning these songs. But you need to know that the selection of the songs is not an exercise in democracy.”
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