Have you ever caught yourself singing tune after tune as you go about your business either out loud or in your head? I seem to have made a habit of this lately, and have caught myself doing it especially when I am cleaning the rooms. I go into my own world – sometimes so thoroughly and I have known to start with fright should someone appear out of the blue and address me.
Mostly, I tend to sing choruses and hymns. Sometimes I sing some of the golden oldies. More often than not, I sing or hum in my head. And at times, I find myself stuck in a groove, where I seem to be repeating the same tune over and over again like a broken record until I catch myself at it. In fact, much of the singing or humming seems to be unconsciously done.
Singing thus has reminded me numerous times of the joyful singalongs that I enjoyed with my dad when I was younger. Every Friday evening, we would make a family visit to my paternal grandparents. And every Saturday evening, we would make a family visit to my maternal grandparents. Dad drove us the few miles to our grandparents’ homes and it was during the rides that he would burst into song.
Mum always sat in the passenger seat, and we three kids had our allotted places in the back seat. I always sat behind my father. Next to me would be my brother, who, being the youngest, had the shortest legs and thus drew the shortest straw. Sis sat behind Mum. Once we were away from our residential estate, Dad or I would start to sing. As both of us were seated close to each other, it was easy to harmonise together.
Let me set the scene for you. As we did not possess an air-conditioned car, we always drove with all the windows wound down as far as they would go. The sultry Singapore evenings did not offer much of a breeze, but with all the windows open and Dad driving at a decent speed, a good breath of wind would blow against my face as I pressed as close to the open window by my side. Despite my seatbelt, I would be practically leaning on the back of Dad’s seat so that we could enjoy singing together.
Dad had a lovely voice with a magnificent range. It was clear and sweet when required in carols such as ‘O Holy Night’, and bright and full in hymns such as ‘How Great Thou Art’. Dad sang with verve and emotion, and his singing always moved me.
My father also enjoyed the songs from classic films, such as ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ and ‘Follow the Yellow Brick Road’. These jaunty songs were good fun to sing along to, and sometimes Mum and Sis would join in, but not my brother even though he has perfect pitch. Often, we would move smoothly from one song to another, and in no time at all, we would be at our destinations.
As I write this now, I am asking myself why I did not use this singalong tactic to distract my kids from the dreaded ‘Are we there yet?’ when they were younger. Instead, we played ‘Count the Trucks’, ‘I Spy with My Little Eye’, and other made-up games. If I am sanguine, I can perhaps hope that my kids will look back with fondness on what to them were interminable car journeys at that time, relieved by their fond parents with silly games to pass the time. Maybe they will even say in their latter years that they enjoyed those trips and games as much I always enjoyed my singalong trips with my father.
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