A Day In The Life

Tiggerlane is My Friend
July 23, 2007, 10:38 pm
Filed under: Music, Odds and Ends

Tiggerlane , in a very friendly way of course, has been giving me grief all day about not mentioning her in my Fun Monday post on friendship.  The final straw was when she made a remark in an email that sounded like something an ex-boyfriend once said to me.  The ex-boyfriend told me I loved my dogs and cats more than I loved him.  What can I say?  He was right which is why he is now an ex-boyfriend.  I also have to state that Arkansas Songbird is not mentioned in Tiggerlane’s post on friendship.  ( I can’t let Tigger completely have the upper hand. )  But, here I am, out of the closet so to speak, admitting to all of blogdom that Tiggerlane is my real life friend.  We met each other in the early 90’s when I was the choir director and she was the pianist at First Presbyterian so we’ve been friends for something like 15 years. 

Music initially brought us together and music is a huge interest in both our lives.  We often move in different musical directions, but the art of music is something we both understand and music speaks to us in very similar ways.  We have had some major debates on the subject of music, but our friendship would be lacking if we agreed on everything. 

So, let me tell you one of my favorite stories about friendship with Tigger.

I am frequently asked to sing the National Anthem at various community events.  Those of you who sing know that the National Anthem is a difficult song to perform.  It ranges from low pitches at the beginning to quite high pitches at the end.  It requires some vocal flexibility and when singing the Anthem a cappella, the performer has to make sure they begin in a key that they can sustain through the end of the song.   In addition, if the singer is like me, the National Anthem moves them emotionally so self-control is mandatory.  You cannot cry and sing the National Anthem at the same time.  It just doesn’t work.

Several years ago, I was asked to sing the National Anthem a cappella at a Memorial Day service on the corner of our courthouse lawn.  I had sung for this event before and I knew how difficult it would be.  Many local dignitaries are on hand for the service and there are always a slew of veterans in attendance.  The flag is raised with military precision by members of the National Guard.  ‘Taps’ is played on the trumpet.  Most of the veterans are in uniform.  Some are in wheelchairs, some on crutches, their ages range from young boys to very old men.  At this particular Memorial Day service, we were honoring the first soldier from our county who was killed in Iraq.  His family was sitting on the first row of seats.  I had to sing the National Anthem toward the end of the service.  Needless to say, I was an emotional wreck.  I was fighting tears and trying to decide if it would be appropriate to sing with my eyes closed or, at least, not facing the large crowd gathered to honor the dead.  I knew I wouldn’t make it through the song if I gazed at the flag waving in the spring breeze so I decided to stare off into the distance slightly lower than the flag, but above the crowd.  I was introduced.  I moved to the podium, set my eyes on the spot I had chosen and began to sing.  Family members of the young man killed in Iraq began to cry.  I could hear them.  I kept singing.  I found myself staring at the mountains I love in the distance.  I kept singing.  Tears began to form in my eyes.  I kept singing.  I made it to the very end of the Anthem then made one tiny little melodic blunder.  I don’t know if anyone even noticed because I recovered and finished the song without stopping, but I knew and I was devastated.  To make an error with the National Anthem in front of veterans and their families who had sacrificed so much seemed unforgivable. 

I was weeping as I made it to my car and drove immediately to my friend’s house.  Tigger was still in her pj’s, but she welcomed me in with a quizzical look on her face.  She knew where I had been, but she wasn’t expecting me to show up at her house, much less in tears.  I sat in her living room and told her the whole story pretty much as I described it above minus the musical explanation.  And she understood.  No questions, no flattery, no platitudes.  Tigger understood what was in my heart and that, ladies and gentlemen, is one reason why I love her. 


10 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I have no idea how you could a) sing the National Anthem in that situation and b) sing it without accompaniment.

As for Tiggerlane, she’s just a bad woman! She purposely broke every rule I set for Fun Monday, and then she made some up and broke them too!

Comment by Willowtree

I have only sung the National Anthem in a group setting – and that was hard enough trying to keep everyone’s voices together. It was much easier playing it on the flute in the band.

You paid Tiggerlane a nice compliment!

Comment by Karmyn R

I wish I’d been there.
and then gone to Tigger’s with you.

Comment by Pamela

Wow,that must have been very difficult, I’m glad Tiggerlane was there for you.

Comment by beccy

Its emotional just reading about it. The warmth of a good friend does wonders for the wounded heart. You are very fortunate to have a friend like that.

Comment by gawilli

Everyone deserves a friend like Tig.
..a melodic blunder?… I’m sure no one but you noticed. And besides, anyone who can sing our National Anthem, a cappela, or even with accompaniment, is a hero to me. Wish I could hear you sing.

BTW, you are in the running for a Barnes and Noble gift card at my place. Remember the Happy Birthday contest?

Comment by Swamp Witch

Cool confession! And yes the National Anthem is so hard to sing when crying – all the high notes go right out the window when the back of the throat starts to tense up!

Comment by Wendy (Purple Worms)

Thanks so much for the loving tribute – I remember that day very clearly – and I KNOW as a fellow musician how that one little foible haunted you. And yet, when I watched it back on TV later – I think you and I would probably have been the only people who even noticed it. Much better to sing with love and emotion and tears!

I was glad that moment meant so much to you – and glad I could be there!

I feel like you are there for me so much more than I ever can give back.

Thank you – I love you!

Comment by Tiggerlane

I’m with Pamela!

Comment by Shauna

You are very lucky to be a real-life friend to Tig. I would pick her as my friend in real-life too!

Your story brought tears to my eyes, dang it. I am at work, I can’t be messing up my make-up. Geez Louise. 🙂

Wish I could hear you sing – oh you could record it and post it on here. 🙂

Comment by Julie

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