Saturday, September 12, 2009


Blame it all on inspiration, or wild imagination, or good leadership, or hero worship, or even delusions of grandeur. But 8 days after the fact—having invested about $25.00 on a washboard, a leather strap, 2 old-fashioned clothes pegs, 3 metal spoons, 2 plastic spoons and a kazoo—I think I can probably say definitively that I may not have needed any of it, except possibly the kazoo. In fact—unlike many other people--I actually had a washboard in the laundry room, and a hundred pegs in the peg bucket (albeit they are the new-fangled kind with springs instead of slits and dapper round heads), and a few dozen metal spoons in the spoon drawer, and 3 plastic spoons in another drawer, and my old washboard never once considered having a fancy leather strap, and when I play the comb some people say it sounds to them like a kazoo. Still I did invest about $25.00 in all these things, which now lie in a pile on my dresser, waiting, like jewellery, to be shown off.
Maybe I wouldn’t have bought any of it if it hadn’t been for the fact that last summer I spent $400.00 on a used keyboard which drove me to hysteria and occupied way too much of my free time until, just a month ago, I heard David say, “I think that keyboard was a really good investment.” If I could make a good investment with $400.00, what might I be able to do with $25.00?
And I likely would not have bought any of it, or even ever considered it had I not sat spellbound in the audience at the Timpanogos Festival in Orem, Utah while
Angela Lloyd
hypnotized me with her gentle stories and then delighted me with her washboard antics. So I traded my plans to hear more stories for an hour’s worth of washboard workshop with Angela, and you really can’t go to a washboard workshop without a washboard, can you? And really, if it hadn’t been for the store having such a run on washboard accessories, I would also have bought at least one wooden block, and possibly a bell, and undoubtedly a little tooting horn. Likely I would have spent more than $30.00 adding in all that. So you see, I really got quite a bargain, as it turns out. What I didn’t get, was the skill, the forty million hours of instruction, the 28 years of practice or the ultimate talent that would transform me from the musician I am not, to the musician Angela is. Only in my dreams am I permitted to make all those bits and pieces burst into beautiful music the way Angela does. She said it was easy. Next time I’ll take promises like that with a tablespoon of salt!
When you get right down to it, the reality is more perplexing than the appearance when it comes to playing the washboard with the wooden pegs, and there’s got to be some sort of technique of magic that converts a mixing spoon to a percussive wonder.
So far, about 6 days in—I didn’t get home until very late on Sunday—I’ve mastered the kazoo, using the amazing band-aid trick Angela taught me, and the fancy strap has been temporarily affixed to the washboard with a couple of sewing pins.
Now I must say, all things considered, that every day, as I turn away from the dresser and toward the keyboard--that keyboard is looking more and more like a really good investment!

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