My daughter Heidi just called me to tell me about her experience of watching a drum corps competition in a theater last night. The audience was so subdued, she said, she and her friends could not contain themselves. They hooted and cheered and marched and drummed along with the corps. I asked how the audience responded and she said they were okay, some people came up to them and asked which corps they’d been in.

I knew exactly how Heidi and her friends felt.  We were the parents in the audience during our children’s years in Green Beret Marching Band and during Heidi and Kate’s time in Sartell’s winter guard. But being member of a guard or corps – well, I know her experience was next to ecstasy.

Wednesday at the Franciscans’ annual Green Fair in Little Falls, there was a group of women who sang old songs that immediately put me into my Aunt Gertrude’s living room with family singing as she played the piano. Standing there I sang from the back loudly, knowing all the words of the songs that go back to the early part of the last century. I was in the zone…just as Heidi and her friends were.

On July 4, Bernie and I took grandchildren to the Language Villages near Bemidji for annual festival of nations. We were thrilled when the campers marched in singing their songs in languages we did not understand. They were beaming. I asked my young adult granddaughter, Maddie, what she thought. “It is fabulous,” she said. “They will remember this forever.” I can imagine that whenever those kids hear these songs, no matter what else is going on in their lives or how old they get, they will enter the zone. And if two or more are gathered, zone power will multiply.

As Heidi and I reflected, it occurred to us that almost everyone has a memory that has zone power for them. At least I hope so. It is such a sweet gift. It has something to do with our souls.

2 thoughts on “ZONE POWER”

  1. Actually, I played a baratone ukelele. It has four strings tuned like the bottom four of a guitar. I still have it and go through spurts of playing it. Each time, I have to re-callus my fingers and get the hang of flitting between chords.
    Dad sang in a barbershop quartet and he could play a juice harp. Your dad played harmonica. It wasn’t until years later that I realized how involved your dad was in his art. I wish I’d heard him play more…I love the harmonica. And of course, there was Aunt Gert at the piano. I can’t remember Eleanor playing anything, but I am absolutly sure she sang along. The singing often came on the heals of a heated political argument. I guess you might say the singing brought everybody back together after they were almost ready to kill one another. I can’t even remember who were the liberals and who were the conservatives.
    It sure was a circus, wasn’t it…we kids loved it.
    Eating memories too…my goodness! Some dishes I remember: the fabulous Christmas cookie array and a particular cookie Aunt Gert made that I have never been able to re-create, my mother’s green beans and bacon or German potatoe salad (same sauce recipe). We shared a wafer, like communion bread…I can’t recall the ethnic source of that right now. Lots of drinking and we kids must have gotten away with murder because the adults were so engaged with their fun.
    We celebrated Christmas and Thanksgiving there and a summer backyard party. The outdoor party wasn’t as much fun for me, I think, because we didn’t do the singing. It seems that Aunt Gert was the family glue and I’d say, the heart of the family, too.
    That is my memory…it all came flooding back at the Green Fare Wednesday. I plan to join that little singing group so I can sing those old songs with them.

  2. I remember Aunt Gert’s too. I remember you and Uncle Chick playing the ukelele and singing. That was a great memory for me. Thanks for sharing.

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