After picking my sister, Anne, up from the airport the other night we spent a delightful dinner with my youngest daughter at one of our favourite restaurants. Comfortably full from dinner, we dropped Liseanne off at her condo and returned home to sit in the backyard and enjoy the beautiful evening.
Dusk was settling into night. The stars were beginning to peek out from the velvety blanket above and the quiet hum of traffic was fading into the deepness of the night.
Wrapped in blankets, Anne and I chatted and sipped a glass of wine as we reminisced and laughed about our lives — especially those childhood moments the two of us shared. Being 2 and a half years apart, we were always up to something. As children, getting in trouble was our middle name and always, one would threaten to tattle-tale on the other and we would bribe the other to ‘not tell’. We had one doll that exchanged hands so many, many times neither of us can remember who the real owner was in the first place.
As ‘the youngest’ it was Anne’s and my job to do the dishes. Back then, we didn’t have a dishwasher so the only recourse was to wash them in a sink full of soapy water. I washed. She dried. Or, if we happened to be in the ‘don’t tell’ mode, we exchanged jobs or one would do both while the other looked on and supervised. Our kitchen had a door we could close so nobody was any wiser to which role we were playing. Washer. Dryer. Provocateur. Nobody dared come in any way because washing dishes was our best excuse to do what we loved best. Sing to our hearts’ content. And mostly, the rest of the house avoided hearing us.
Sitting on the deck with my sister, walking down memory lane, telling tales on each other, I was reminded of those childhood moments where it was just the two of us, a sink full of soapsuds, a stack of dirty dishes, a drying towel and cupboards to fill. It was never a straight line between drying rack and cupboard. There was always room for a few pirouettes, a few notes of “Alberta Bound” or “Scarborough Fair” or any of the many songs we knew, and loved to sing together, as we washed and dried and spun about and lifted glasses high and dipped down low, our voices following our body movements, up and down the scales, in and out of harmonies.
We were awesome we believed. And nobody could tell us any different.
The other night, my sister and I sang together in a different way. But sing together we did. My iPad primed to play my favourite tunes, Anne asked, have you heard… and she named a musician I’d never heard. Thank you, YouTube! There they were. We listened for a bit to a tune, and then moved onto the next. We sang along with the music. We sang without the music. Quietly, I might add. We do have neighbours.
And it didn’t matter. We laughed softly in the night, our voices humming and singing. It didn’t matter the years since those childhood days in the kitchen. There we were again, two conspirators singing our hearts out.
And we were awesome! Nobody can tell us any different!
Music has always made a difference in my life. It is the thread that ties me to my family, to my past, to shared experiences of being just the two of us against the world, to memories of tight spots that a song, a note has lifted me out of, or pulled me away from. Music binds us fast. To the past. To our hearts. To who we are inside. Wild and passionate notes of life springing up to be sung, to be heard, to be shared.
I sat on the deck with my sister and sang in the night and the stars shone more brightly and the world spun more comfortably on its axis. All was in tune. All was as it should be and always is when we share the music of our hearts.
And here to take you down memory lane, or to create a memory for you, whichever the case may be, is one of our favourites… Simon and Garfunkel’s “Scarborough Fair” set to another classic, The Graduate.