BRANDON WISCONSIN R.R-2 ZIP-53313
There is an old saying about 'patience being a virtue' and 'possess it if you can. 'Well once upon a time, probably twenty five years ago, we bought four tickets to hear the United States Marine Band. They were playing in a near-by town. Something happened at the time, which was unforseen. I went to the hospital instead. Someone else used my ticket while I fumed in my cut-up state. In all those twenty five years since, things were never just right to hear this band again.
Last week they played near home. My husband bought tickets, and this time I made it. It was worth waiting for, yes, even for twenty five years. What a marvelous experience! When they play a march it is really played, and this wonderful surge of patriotism permeates your whole system until you could stand up and shout, 'I am an American, and it is a grand thing to be an American.'
On the other hand, one can turn on our local radio station, any hour of the day, and almost regurgitate at the incessant junble beat that someone there, apparently considers music. And our patience at putting up with it is surely no virtue. It is a downright sin.
I am a great lover of good music, and possibly am more affected by it than some other people, and yet, perhaps not. I can remember playing Tchaikovsky's Concerto No. 1 in B-flat Minor for piano and orchestra on our record player for my mother a few years ago. Her response was this, 'My! What grand music!' And she didn't know an A from an F, nor could she ever carry a tune. It was part of the family jokes how Mother could murder any tune.
Yet one of the fondest memories we all have of her is how she would sing (off key, to be sure) 'My grandmother, she, at the age of eighty three, One day in May was taken ill and died. . .' The week before she left us she sang it for Mary as she lay in her hospital bed, and Mary, naturally amused, began to laugh. Then this dear aged lady chuckled and said, 'Well I'm eighty nine and not much good for anything, but I can still make somebody laugh.' What a memory to leave for the youngest of her twenty one grandchildren, a good clean sense of humor at eighty nine, aided by some form of music and the story it told. Our home was more than supplied with music as we grew up and this has been carried over in the lives of our children also.
As the fan on the furnace is running right now it has a certain warm melody that modern people associate with home. The telephone wires used to sing icily to the coldest nights the winter brought us. Added to this was the music of the snapping of a few frigid nails as their hard metal contracted enough to loosen them with a sharp 'ping.' Now our telephone wires are underground and they don't sing to the night nor to me anymore. I miss them. But there are still some nails to pop in this old house.
For the next few weeks I will be plagued by the whine of the corn dryer in our new metal corn bin. That isn't music. It is another aggravation to match the racket on our local radio station. I don't think we have any conception of how much our young people are affected by modern music and the sounds they have to endure. How can they appreciate anything better if they (and we) listen to only this?
My patience on this point has run out. Here, in our town, we are going to attempt to do something about it. We have agreed to try sending letters of disapproval, all to arrive on the same day, if possible. We could march, I suppose, and be in style, but I think the pen may still be 'Mightier than the sword.' We are going to put a letter in the local paper (if they will take it) and go on from there. Besides, we have a problem, shoe wise. Our local shoe repair man is always swamped with work, and right now his assistant is ill, so why march and wear out our shoes? I wouldn't last marching for more than three blocks anyway.
Our Steam Neighbor, Art Frase, came up with some good steam engine music here a while back when he threshed a stack or two of grain. My husband went and pitched some bundles, carried grain, etc. It was music to his ears. I didn't go with him as I am still nursing an ailing limb. Finally it was discovered that I had an abscessed tooth which was draining into my system. It seems one has to watch your teeth when you get on a little farther in years or they can pop off like a valve on your steam engine. Had two teeth pulled three weeks ago, and am on the mend.
In the meantime Cane Carrying Maizie had better get back to work. One can't work very well if one can't walk ,. very well. There is no music in a messy house, a baked-on oven, a splattered refrigerator, etc. There is no harmony in disorder and dirt.
Before I end this column on the music all around us, we must consider the music of our steam reunions. This is something so unique in the area of sound as to stand in a class by itself. It is music to our ears.
And who can forget the magnificence of a good church organ as it peals out praise to God? And what can match the music of a good choir, and congregational singing when the Spirit of God really moves a group of people in worship and adoration?
The hysterical beat of the jungle? NO! I won't settle for it in America without a good fight. How about you? Let's get the ball a rolling for better music for our United States of America. We have ears to preserve for better things and a constantly changing generation of young people to influence, either for the pagan drums of licentiousness or the nobility of good music and good living.
It is a good New Year's resolution to make for each one of us. Have yourselves the most Blessed of Holidays and better music in 1968.