Monday, April 19, 2010

Dot Dot Dot

Last night I went to a fireside* where Janis Kapp Perry, prolific Mormon songwriter, was speaking. It was long. Oh, sweet land of liberty, it was long. It was wonderful, I was in the choir and we sang a bunch of her songs and she was lovely and humble and her husband told us the pick up line he used to woo her ("Those lips look too good to just play the clarinet.") But it was 2 hours. TWO HOURS! Once I hit the hour and a half mark of any fireside I start staring down the clock and contemplate faking a stroke to get out of there.

Anyway, she was talking about how music has strengthened her family and once she heard from a leader in the church that having a family song would build unity so she wrote one. And then she played it for us. And it was cute. But more importantly it reminded me of the time my Grandma Crenshaw wrote a family song for us.

Remember the watermelon blanket? How it was inadvertently the funniest thing my grandma ever did? The family song is the second funniest thing.

It was Thanksgiving and we were mostly all together for the first time in years and after dinner we were gathered around looking at old pictures when Grandma announced that she had written a family song and we were all going to sing it. So she handed out the words and Gina got on the piano and we all started singing. It was basically the history of the family starting with she and Grandpa meeting and then moving on to verses about the kids and grandkids. We were going along swimmingly until we got to the first bit of bad news. There have been a few divorces and deaths in the family but instead of writing about them in rhymes Grandma just put "..."

As in, "So-and-so got married and had a few kids and well ..."

So we're singing the lines and we get to the "..." and we all sing, "dot dot dot" and then promptly lose it. This continues each time there is any unpleasant news. There were probably three or four "dot dot dot" moments and each one makes us laugh harder and harder. By this time the song has gotten really long and Gina decided to speed it up so now were laughing and racing through the song and my sweet grandma is just sitting there singing her heart out. And now occasionally when there is bad news in my family we'll refer to it as "dot dot dot." It may be my favorite Crenshaw family moment.

*For those who don't speak Mormon: Special church meetings held periodically involving guest speakers and followed by snacks. Some are great. Some are just good. Some you want to shoot yourself in the foot. It's a shame I didn't have a blog back in the day when I was in the young single adult program of the church and had to go to two or three firesides a month. You would die over some of the stories.


samandholly said...

You can make it an hour and a half? Wow! After about 50 minutes, I start clicking my pen, tapping my foot and generally acting like a trapped feral animal, ready to chew off a limb to get out of there! As for the firesides of my single days, two words: Samoan musicals...

colleeeen said...

If I don't remember to bring paper and a pencil, I am DOOMED. Seriously, I am like a 5-year-old. I draw cartoons, pass notes to Dan and make lists that I will never remember to refer back to. I should scan some of my cartoons & put them on my blog. Occasionally they are funny to other people as well (mostly my Mom).

Rachel said...

Don't get me started on the musical firesides. When I start talking about them I sound like I'm this close to turning Catholic.

Erin said...

According to studies, you should have one minute of attention span for every year you are old. Whomever conducted those studies never studied me, because I'm 31 and I'd estimate my attention span at about 10 minutes. Eleven if I'm lucky. And that's why I almost stood up and screamed during the last fireside I went to where the lady talked about her clinical depression for 90 MINUTES. By the time it was over, I was clinically depressed.

I wish someone in my family would write a family song. We just have a family crest. It has a beehive in it.

Amanda said...

"Brother to Brother" Remember that fireside, where the two guys were singing so close, we thought they were going to start making out?

camille said...

Oh Amanda! That one is burned into my brain. So disturbing. Along with many others.

stephaniestempinski said...

I remember seeing Sister Perry at a fireside at Ricks. I still remember her definition of humility - knowing that God gave her talent and that she needed to share the talent.

I wish I had funnier stories about firesides. I also wish I had funnier stories about my kooky family.

You make me laugh out loud more than anyone else I know.


Katie said...

Listen all relations
In the Family Crenshaw
We've a lot to tell you
And you will be in awe!

That's all I can remember, except for the hilarious dot, dot, dots! What a memory.

Brooke said...

I loved that fireside too! I was looking for you after--I wanted to tell you how much I loved the dress you were wearing!

Gina said...

Sweet mercy! Why are the musical firesides so long? I believe it would only be appropriate to have a gong at those firesides so the presiding authority could bang it when the hour strikes. Be done already!

Sam's comment made me laugh out loud: Samoan firesides. Loves the Samoans - hate the musical firesides.

Isn't JKP pretty elderly?'s not only musical firesides that are long...remember the fireside of "my body is not for touching, but I like you"? Hilarious...many years later.

Heath said...

Erin, I don't know you, but you are hilarious! "It has a beehive in it." Awesome.

Rachel, you're fantastic.

The Katzbox said...

Long firesides can make me lose my testimony. only half way kidding. I mean, really????

The worst is when someone hands out a paper and then READS IT WHILE IT'S IN FRONT OF ME. I don't know why that jerks my chain, but I have to leave the room.

I think one of our family crests has an attorney on it.

Angela Noelle of Striking Keys said...

That song



Also, some notes on firesides;
- ours always seem to be 2 hours long...I thought that was the norm...and was lucky if they kept to the schedule...what the?
- snacks afterwards? Double-'what-the?'!

(writing from NZ)

Mariah said...

Janice Kapp Perry is like a Mormon Celebrity. I bet we'd have stake centres filled through the gym if she came here. (NZ - Stiking Keys' sister)

Rach said...

I have been in a few musical firesides, and even as a performer I wanted to leave halfway through. The ones I dreaded as a single person were the long lectures about moral cleanliness, the travel logs, and the one this lady did just for women about how all women can enjoy marital relations (if you catch my meaning) as much as her husband, and she had the secret, if you wanted to chat with her later. Yes, in a singles ward.

camille said...

Rachel, you have friends in NZ??? Why haven't we taken a trip yet? Hi NZ friends. Start bringing brownies to your firesides, the crowd will love it!

colleeeen said...

Just for the record, I am not a JKP fan. I usually avoid firesides like the plague, and I would avoid a JKP fireside like the plague-iest plague ever known to mankind. I am sure she is a lovely person and a very enjoyable speaker, but JKP firesides would undoubtedly involve JKP music, and I get quite enough of that in Primary, thank you.