I remember the first year I agreed to help my friend lead the singing for VBS. She gave me a DVD two months in advance, but I was too busy throwing together a prom and grading final exams to give it much thought. Besides, how hard could it be to learn to sing a couple of ditties? Anytime you ask yourself a question that you think has an obvious answer, prepare to get blindsided.
I popped in the demo the day before the opening ceremonies and immediately saw the error of my ways. I watched the creator of the musical series sing the western theme song and contort his body through five minutes of choreography so complicated that it made West Side Story look like the hokey pokey by comparison. After showing the audience the polished product, he then led us through a teaching segment that broke down the movements and showed beginners how to pair them with the lyrics. With every minute that passed, I envisioned myself up in front of the 100+ people who would be attending the following afternoon, trying to remember whether I was supposed to leap left or right after lassoing the imaginary steer on the loose and hitting that high note at the end of the bridge that would require the removal of my spleen for perfect pitch. Panic set in, which in turn released a glorious stream of adrenaline that had me two-steppin’ like a cow poke on crack.
It took me half an hour to learn the song well enough to graduate from total social embarrassment to moderate personal humiliation, but once I knew that I was capable of mastering the one, I thought I had it whipped. And then I watched the rest of the demo. Turns out that there were five more songs for me to learn, each and every one unique in its dance routine, tempo, lyrics . . . How strange to find one of Dante’s circles of hell at a church function. I can’t fully recollect what happened next, but I think psychiatrists label it regression. All I know is that the fetal position never seemed quite so comforting.
After an hour or so of cataloging the spots on the ceiling, I dragged my carcass off the floor and gave myself a pep talk that succeeded in imparting enough energy to learn one other song. I went over those numbers so many times that I nailed that 90 degree bunny hop every time, and I remembered to fling my rope at that imaginary herd of cattle with enough confidence to win a rodeo buckle. But my real moment of glory came two days later in the grocery store when I ran into a mom of one of the kids.
“Caleb sure does love having you as a music teacher. He says you’re enthusiastic and really have those moves down pat.”
“Thanks. I was terrified that I wasn’t going to learn the songs in time.”
She giggled and leaned over the buggy to whisper, “Caleb also says you have big muscles in your arms. You know that part when you have to flex on the word strong? Well, Caleb told me, ‘Mom, Miss Traci has some great guns.’ He was real impressed.”
I couldn’t think of a thing to say about my guns other than, “Well, it is a western theme.”
© 2013 – Traci Carver