“There’s a wolf a-howling on the tundra. He’s calling to his mate on the tundra. I hear him call; I see his paw. The wolf is howling on the tundra. (hooooooooooowl).”
Well, dear reader friends, another year in my most pleasant pastime as a retiree volunteer at the school where I was formerly employed as an elementary/junior high music specialist has crested the hill and disappeared into the waning sunset.
Chop suey. An edible concoction of “miscellaneous leftovers,” according to Wikipedia.
In the lovely opera “Amahl and the Night Visitors” by Gian Carlo Menotti, performed primarily at Christmas, is a tender scene where Amahl, a crippled shepherd lad with an extraordinarily vivid imagination, appears to be divinely healed. Upon taking his first step, he gazes upward at his mother and in awe-struck tones sings in hesitatingly sotto voce, “I walk... Mother! I walk... Mother!”
As I went into my second year of retirement this past July, I had decided to cease my yearlong newspaper column pontifications on the state of being newly retired.
Mishaps. They occur in everyone’s life. As a retiree I look back on my years as a music educator and recall musical mishaps, some of which I’d like to share with you.
I was working recently with a classroom at the school from which I retired last year. The teacher was having her students present the play “Anne of Green Gables,” which her classes have done several times over the years that I taught at the school. To add more to the play I found music to go along with the dialogue.
I have always been interested in my ancestral heritage, especially on my mother’s side, but never had the time to delve into it.
In a way, it’s as if I have simply been on a seven-month hiatus and am now returning to my regularly scheduled job.
I rarely, if ever, caught a cold during the years I was teaching, with seven classes a day coming in and out of my classroom, bringing their sniffles, snuffles, sneezes and coughs with them.
What a strange December I just journeyed through! Normally I would have experienced that month in the throes of having students present many school Christmas programs and concerts.
I was recently conducting a rehearsal of our church orchestra and realized as I stood up to begin that I had forgotten to bring my conducting baton. I remembered that all my batons are on my conductor’s stand in my classroom at school. So I conducted the rehearsal baton-less, with hand alone.
Part of my retiree volunteering is in a first- and second-grade classroom. I listen to individual students read aloud, then ask them questions about their books to ascertain what their comprehension is regarding what they read.
Old habits die hard, stanza one: It was early afternoon one Sunday and the thought came to me that I really should go to the school to get my work done.
I received a summons for jury duty, and on the enclosed information form was the query: “Are you currently employed?”
‘Hello, Terry. How’s your retirement doing?”