Dream Along With Me
I’ve gotten to the age, I guess, where I want to accomplish a few things in my life before I find I’ve shuffled past the accomplishment point of departure place. OK, that didn’t make much sense to me either. What I mean is that if I’m going to make all the wannabe dreams I’ve had in my life come true, or maybe just a couple of them, well, one maybe, I’d better get up off my arse and get up on the ball and get on with them. Time, she’s a-runnin’ out. Well, she’s a-runnin’ somewhere and it’s gettin’ harder by the year to keep up with it, or with anything for that matter. So today I begin.
I won’t list all my dreams here because I know you’d be bored and wouldn’t much give a rat’s. You’ve got your own dreams to make come true, right? I’d really love to know them, so how’s about this; I’ll tell you mine if you’ll tell me yours, OK? Let’s get started.
Here’s one dream that’s very high on my list; I really want to learn to play the xylophone. Not one of those kiddie things you hold on your lap or pull behind you on a red plastic string, but a real big long table kind you stand up at, with lots and lots of keys and big long mallets. (Are they called keys? Are they called mallets?)
So there it is. Now you know. I think the sound of great xylophone music is about the closet thing to heaven there can be, music-wise. In my opinion, angels play xylophones, not harps. I know, I know—you simply can’t fly about carrying a xylophone with the ease you can a harp, what with those mallets to deal with, but no matter, the xylophone seraphim can stand on the clouds to play their instruments. Or something. And frankly I think that’s probably what they actually do.
Oh, what a joyful sound. Xylophone music can stand alone. Doesn’t need a big orchestra behind it. Maybe a drum, maybe a little bass. But oh boy, being able to stand in front of a big xylophone holding four mallets and playing harmony with myself would send me to the skies and beyond. Well, that is if I could actually hold four mallets in my hands and make each of them play a different tune at the same time. How do those xylomusicians do that anyway?
When my dear husband Mongo and I were courting, (that word wasn’t used even back then. I just like it. I also like to say “parlour,”) well, he wasn’t my dear husband then, he was my dear boyfriend, but anyway, he took me to a big dance at his college, Lafayette (I still have the corsage. Yeah, I’m a sap. Go ahead and say it) and the dance orchestra that night was Lionel Hampton’s. That man could play his huge xylophone as if being conducted by God, and move? Oh, that man moved and jumped and threw himself all over the stage and against the walls and never missed a note. It was a wild and fabulous musical night and we danced our feet off and I’ll tell you, Mr. H. set that xylophone on fire. What an athletic musical genius! I’ll never forget that night. I’d loved the xylophone before that dance, but after, I was completely xylohooked.
Thus, I put the fantasy of learning to play that glorious instrument in my secret dream place with all my other dreams where it has stayed. But I have always planned someday to haul it out and learn to play that instrument of dreams! And who knows? I’m only 72. There’s still time, right? Right?
I knew a woman in her sixties who also had a dream, and her dream was to take tap dance lessons. She didn’t do too well, but she didn’t care a fig; she was dancing her geriatric Fred Astaire imitation and she was lovin’ it! She knew she was more clumping than tapping, but it didn’t matter. She knew she outweighed Astaire by around 100 lbs. but it didn’t matter. She knew she probably looked crazy, but it didn’t matter. What mattered was that she was getting her dream thing done, and more importantly, she was getting it done in time.
Another person I know also decided it was time to “realize my dream because the clock’s ticking.” He was a guy who wanted to ride in a camel race. No! Really! He wasn’t from any part of the world where camels are raced or were even seen strolling around for that matter, but he just simply wanted to ride in a camel race. Could not get it out of his mind. I’ll never understand why. So this man saved his money, went to some desert country where they ride and race those great nasty beasts, took some lessons from some guys, picked out the least monstrous and he hoped the least rank of the local ruminants, climbed aboard and galloped across the sands very likely in some amount of pain, and came back to America a satisfied and happy man, a man who will never, ever get anywhere near a camel again, even in a zoo. “Gross,” says he, and “ugh” and “gaggo to the max,” but he smiles most happily.
I guess learning to play the xylophone is a kind of lame dream compared to the dreams other people have. I read of one elderly man getting on stage to dance with Las Vegas showgirls, another quitting a very lucrative job to amble around the north woods in winter to follow and record the tracks of mountain lions. He did it, told me his feet never once got cold and that he’d never known such peace and happiness.
Do you have a special dream? Do you hear a clock ticking somewhere? Will I ever take xylophone lessons? Will you learn to play your own xylophone?