Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Typical Evening

It was a typical evening in the Barlow household. Mom was in the kitchen cooking up a steamy dinner in the wok over the stove with the aroma of stir-fry filling the entire house. I was in the music room stumbling over some Mozart on my flute, Carl was in his room practicing for his next voice lesson by singing a few scales on different vowels. James and Michael were sitting in their dank bedroom with the feverish glow of a Nintendo game on their faces, Miriam was sitting on the couch rumpling some papers around and studying for her next Bio-Chemistry test. Tom was downstairs in the garage clanging, tinkering, and banging on an old Ford, Marie was cleaning her bedroom while listening to some Sarah McLachlan, and Dad was upstairs shuffling through some bills and junk-mail that had been scattered around in his briefcase.

Then it happened. In less than a second the lights in the house and the glow of the television went out, the steam over the stove had stopped, the vibrating notes of my flute came to a rest, the shuffling and clanging stopped, and Sarah McLachlan and Carl had come to a rest as well. Just as it happened you could hear, ”Hey, what’s going on?” and, “What happened?”

Every one of us at the same time emerged from our personal business and informally gathered in the family room, all spouting off various opinions about the loss our electricity.

“The rice isn’t finished cooking.”, Mom piped in.

“I was going to watch Pirates of Penzance.”, said Michael.

We began rummaging on the top of the refrigerator for some flashlights. After we had discovered that the batteries in each of them were bumt out, Marie hauled out from her immaculately clean bedroom s potpourri candles in little glass containers that she had made just last week and began lighting them around the house. Meanwhile, my littlest brother kept complaining about wanting to watch The Pirates of Penzance. My innovative sister, Miriam, had a solution to his problem.

“I’m sure that I have the script somewhere.”

Upon her suggestion she scampered to her room and started throwing books and papers every which way. She finally appeared out from her candle-lit bedroom holding a stapled packet of wrinkled papers high above her head.

“I found the script!”, she elated.

We all situated ourselves at the table andchose parts. I got to be Mabel and the Major General, Carl assumed most major male roles being that he is really the only boy in our family that sings, Marie and Miriam double-cast themselves as Ruth and were all of the Major General’s Daughters, James and Michael assumed the male chorus roles as the pirates and the policemen, and Tom, Mom, and Dad were all going to be too busy to stay awake and sing, so they wished us well and went to bed.

James and Michael began by singing,

“Pour, oh pour the pirate sherry- Fill, oh fill
the pirate glass! . . ..”

By the-time the first scene was through, we had mostly forgotten or simply ignored that we had assigned parts. When it was time for the Major General’s entrance and song, James and Michael were both lying asleep on the Family Room floor.

I, Carl, Marie, and Miriam kept singing all through the night. When we had finished the last scene when everyone gets married, it was about three o’clock in the morning, but none of us were very tired. We all Wanted to keep singing, but of course we needed to sleep to be ready for school the next morning. So everyone went in their own direction once again by brushing their teeth and preparing to go to bed in their own busy way.