Saturday, January 29, 2011

Out of Tune and Out of Luck

At the end of my first semester, I joined the choir and was a member until I graduated - but just barely. Choir members were expected (required?) to stay on campus though graduation to sing at commencement. At the end of my sophomore year, I had a summer job offer at a northern Michigan Y camp that required my presence as soon as finals were over. I left without seeking "permission" from Mr. Dave (Prof David Strickler - one of the finest men I ever met). Returning that fall, I asked to rejoin the choir and got the famous Mr. Dave stern look. After pleading my case, he relented with the understanding I was on probation for the rest of my college life.

During the JFK presidential campaign, some of the choir members arrived at practice singing JFK booster songs. Mr. Dave had the choir stand and sing one of them. Being a staunch Republican (ah - days of youth), GaryM and I remained seated and did not join in. Mr. Dave noticed our "independence" . When the song was over, he asked Gary and me to stand and sing all three verses of the Albion Alma Mater. Gary was a fraternity member and had learned the words to all three verses. I only knew one verse. Boy, did I feel stupid humming the final two verses in support of my fellow political criminal.

Each spring the choir went on tour for two weeks to promote the college.  We sang at high schools in the morning and churches in the evening.   On the tour, Mrs. Dave would often join us for a week or so. She was a most attractive woman, always dressed well, and was interesting to talk to.

Sometime in my junior year, the Choir was allowed to use one of the sorority houses for a social event. It was the first and only time I saw the interior of a sorority house. There was nothing exciting going on, so I decided to look around. I went upstairs and, to my amazement I discovered a stunningly beautiful young woman in the powder room putting on her makeup. She probably saw my jaw drop. Where had this lovely creature been all my life?

 She was not a choir member. As we chatted, I noticed there was something familiar about her.  As our conversation continued, I was thinking - I could not be so blind to have never noticed this young woman on campus. What was she doing here? She was preparing for a date - off campus, on her way up to Michigan State. Then the bell clapper dropped. She was Mr. Dave's daughter, blessed with her mother's good looks, Mr. Dave's wit, and that certain something you see in a woman who knows she's got IT - the look I call "Catch me if you can, but it will cost you your heart to do so".

Some types of fish I catch almost without trying; but I have never been able to catch my favorite, the elusive rainbow trout