Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Sunday, May 6, 2012

My 'Almost' Performance


Admit it. This scares you . . .

I'm sitting, waiting for my Sunday services to start.
I'm in a peaceful, wonderful place.
Quiet hymns are playing.
People are about me, speaking in hushed, reverent tones.
My mind is centred on things spiritual.
Not.
Okay, everyone else around me is probably having spiritual thoughts.
I'm remembering my most embarrassing moment in church.
Does that say something about me?
Moving on . . .
In our church, the speakers every week are chosen from the congregation itself.
Usually in threes.
There is a brief first talk.
A longer second one.
Followed by an intermediate hymn.
I should explain here, that this hymn is usually something instrumental, played by a member of the congregation.
Or an actual song, sung by said congregation while standing.
In case anyone is getting sleepy.
Thus refreshed, everyone is ready to listen to a third, and final, speaker.
My most embarrassing church moment concerns the intermediate hymn.
And my one chance to shine.
Which I flubbed.
Let me tell you about it . . .
In an effort to include everyone, the men who organize the Sunday services are always alert for hidden talents.
I should probably point out that some of them are hidden for a reason.
I had started taking piano lessons.
A smidgin of information my mother proudly conveyed to said men within a few weeks of my first sitting down at a piano.
And which immediately resulted in an issued invitation to provide the spiritually uplifting intermediate interlude for the next Sunday services.
Sigh.
I can sum up my feelings in one word.
Terrified.
But I had been asked.
I would do my eight-year-old best.
I practised hard all week.
I only had one song that would be suitable and I needed to have it perfect.
My family probably got sick of hearing it played over.
And over.
And over.
But they kept quiet about it.
Sunday dawned.
As Sundays do.
Disdaining my little music book, I walked up to the piano.
Rubbing suddenly moist fingers on my dress.
I took my seat and raised my hands in the approved 'piano-playing' manner.
I took a deep breath and struck the first note.
Then I let out my breath and played the next.
And the next.
This was going to go all right.
Confidently, I played the fourth note.
Then my mind blanked.
I stopped.
I couldn't remember the rest.
I hesitated.
Then I started again.
Surely, my fingers would remember it this time.
But they failed me.
I got stuck on the same note.
I tried a third time.
And met the same fate.
I put my hands in my lap. Maybe the congregation would think that the first four notes of the piece were all there were.
Maybe.
Okay, no.
Completely crushed, I stood up and walked back to my seat.
The congregation, consisting mostly of young families were, for the first time ever, silent.
I felt their sympathetic eyes on me as I made my way.
And while I sat with head bowed through the rest of the service.
I survived.
Pretty much unscathed.
I even played again.
Much later.
But never without remembering that first time.
What is it about the power of an embarrassing moment that makes you remember it . . . forever?
Do you have one?

17 comments:

  1. I have spent my entire life avoiding ever having to do anything in front of anyone....that includes speaking, singing, playing an instrument, dancing, anythng you can think of. You were so brave.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank goodness you are comfortable writing! I love your comments!

      Delete
  2. Oh Diane, I have some major embarrassing moments that are awesome for a laugh now. I think one of the biggest ones I had was when I accidentally tucked my skirt into my pantyhose and went about my business. Lucky for me a nice woman advised me of this humiliating experience... I thought I might crawl up in a ball and have the world open up and swallow me... instead it has made for a hilarious story many years later :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't it amazing that the most embarrassing experiences make the best stories . . . after the pain is gone! :)

      Delete
  3. I never acknowledged my embarassing moments and walked right through them. However, they never involved a room full of people in silent reverie. And here you are, and we're smiling over it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love those words 'silent reverie'. They convey so much! I wish I could have ignored my embarrassing moments. I can't seem to forget them! Oh, well, they make great stories!

      Delete
  4. Oh goodness. Bless your little heart! One time I was walking through the grocery store in heels and I hit a little puddle of water. I slid right into a pyramid of cracker boxes just as the grocery clerk was putting the last box on the top. Talk about an I Love Lucy moment!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, that's priceless! I can just see it. You're right. Lucy couldn't have topped that, even at her best!!!

      Delete
  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oh boy. Too embarrassed to even bring up my most embarrassing moments...yes...that's plural. ; ) I could totally relate to your feelings. You wrote and described them perfectly. It's interesting how we can all relate to those feelings, eh?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Empathy. The great leveller!! I have many, many more embarrassing moments to tell about. When I get the courage! :)

      Delete
  7. This post certainly brought back some memories. I took piano lessons for about 6 years and learned to play fairly well except for when someone was listening. I quite during High School and then decided to take lessons again in my 50's. My teacher insisted I be part of her recital. I was basically the only adult on the program. I had played for family home evening moments and Christmas to accompany my children and I always goofed it up. At this recital I was true to myself I made mistakes again and it was even filmed. I have a feeling I will never conquer the fear; but I would like too. I don't know if I should say thanks for the memory.
    Hugs!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm amazed! I took lessons for a while during this story. Then quit until I was in my 50s. I, too had to go to a recital in which I was the only adult. I don't remember how I did. All I could hear was buzzing in my ears!

      Delete
  8. Diane, it may have been an embarrassing moment but it was also one that served to show you that we can rise after we fall. The proof of this is how you played again later. My daddy always told me that it was okay for one to mess up because it was during these times that we found out the stuff we were made of. And methinks you are made of brave and strong stuff, lady! Look at you now! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My daddy said the same thing. I guess we're made of sterner stuff! Who was it that said, "That which doesn't kill us . . . makes us wish it had!!!"

      Delete
  9. I bet you didn't believe whoever said 'one day you'll look back on this and laugh', either!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're so right. I thought I would cringe forever. Well, I still cringe. But I laugh, too!

      Delete

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