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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Let Me Call You Sweetheart

When the doors opened promptly at six o'clock, over a hundred people flowed into the beautifully decorated room. Red jackets and red sweaters were the fashion choice for many of these silvered haired folks. They were gathering for the annual Sweetheart Banquet at Mitchell Road Presbyterian Church. The Yesterukes in their blue shirts were easily identifiable as visitors here. Visitors and entertainers. After a delicious meal, we played old love songs, older love songs and a couple that might be classified as ancient. And there were a few songs that had nothing to do with love but we just enjoy playing them.  

But the best part of the program was after we finished. People came to the front to say how much they enjoyed it. And we hearing that. We heard, "We've just spent an evening walking down memory lane. Thank you!" (The Yesterukes have a permanent address on Memory Lane!) "Well, I didn't believe there was such a thing as a ukulele band. I was wrong."  And, "This was the most fun I've had in a long time." There were many other similar comments. But sometimes people come  up to tell you stories. And that's even better. The people with the stories will wait a little longer until the first wave has moved on.  

There was a man who was excited to tell about a business trip to Hawaii many years ago. Ukuleles were hanging on the wall at a restaurant where he had a business dinner and customers and staff would take one off the wall and sing and play when the mood struck them. He left smiling. Made us smile, too. And there was a lady who came to tell us she used to play ukulele but had not touched one in 40 years. Then she borrowed one of ours and proceeded to play Twenty Six Miles for us! And a man who was one of the older guests there waited a long time to ask, "Can you show me how to play that thing?"

As we were packing the last instruments in the car, one of the ladies who had helped serve the meal came out of the church doors whistling one of the songs we had played. We knew it had been a good night.

Let Me Call You Sweetheart, Friedman & Whitson, 1910

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