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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

My Blue Heaven

Tonight some of us will gather to say goodbye to a man was a member of the Yesterukes, but not a regular member, though.  He never played a ukulele. He never went to a gig with us. But he did enjoy singing. He was a regular at our practices for years. He's the only one who wore his blue Yesteruke shirt every week.

It didn't take us long to learn that he wanted everything to be blue. Everything. Before I knew this, I handed him a red kazoo once. He brought it back the following week and said he couldn't play it. He could only play a blue one. He wanted the blue music stand and the blue notebook and the blue flowered lei. Guess it's good our official shirts just happened to be blue.

We have well over 200 songs in our "big notebook," some we've sung often and others we've only played through a couple of times. And out of those many, many songs and years of practices, there are only two that we can play without using music for the words and/or chords—Happy Birthday (because we are asked to play it often at gigs) and Yes Sir, That's My Baby.

For reasons we'll never understand, Yes Sir, That's My Baby was his special song—"special" as in we had to play it each and every week. He grinned like a kid on Christmas morning every single time we played it. After we realized this was going to be a permanent request, it became our "ending song" for every practice. So after years of playing and singing it each week, we play it very well. At our practice in a couple of days, we just might let it be our first song.

Today we ordered blue flowers for his memorial service. We're all betting that in his heaven, everything is blue.

My Blue Heaven, Gene Austin, 1928

Friday, February 8, 2013

At Last

After a six-week break over the holidays the Yesterukes were back together and ready to entertain.

And the Young at Heart members at Reedy Fork Baptist Church were ready to listen. They had such fun and after the program, so many said something like "I had not heard that song in years." Or, "I'd forgotten about that song--but when you started, I still knew all the words."

And again, we were well fed. There was so much food. This was the table AFTER everyone had been through the line. 

When we came to the end, the audience was generous with their applause and one man was waving his hand and saying something about ".....again." When the room quieted, he repeated his request. 

We are always prepared to do an encore even though it's rarely needed. We thought, "Here is our chance!" But when we could hear him, he pointed at Mary Ellen and asked, "Would that lady swoon again?" Our band members have the best time when we play and it shows. One of our front row regulars has a dramatic flair and often does a huge comic "swoon" during a romantic solo sung by one of our gentlemen. 

So swoon again, she did. She said it was much harder to swoon on demand! 

At Last, Glen Miller, 1941