Saturday, December 31, 2005

End of the year reflections

(Image of Fred Rogers from

It's 10:44 PM here in the DC metro area, and another year is winding down.

I thought this was as good a time as any to write about my goals for next year, hokey as it may sound.

Let me start off with this:

"It's you I like,
every part of you,
your skin, your eyes, your feelings,
whether old or new.

I hope that you remember
even when you're feeling blue,
that it's you I like,
it's you yourself,
it's you...

It's you I like."
(by Fred Rogers, pictured above)

Out of all the songs he wrote and performed on his show, this one always meant the most to me. It's also the one that makes me think the most of my dad. He always tried hard to judge people by their insides, not their outsides. And even if we got in trouble as kids (or adults), Dad let us know he loved us - and LIKED us - no matter what.

(By the way, if you're sick of me writing about my dad, as Jules would say, "You're living on the corner of 'Tough Titty' and 'Sucks to be you'." Just so ya know.)

In addition, I had an eye-opener on Friday. I was feeling kind of grumpy and very tempted to quit the big band I sing with. I don't know if it was a holiday thing, a mourning thing, or what, but I was ready to quit after rehearsal on Thursday.

Then came our Friday gig - a gig we do every year for the Hebrew Home of Greater Washington - and those senior citizens melted my heart again. Damn it.

To give you background, every year (since I joined the band, anyway) one of the things we do is a "New Year's Eve" party at the Hebrew Home. It's my kind of's over by 3 PM so I can get to bed by 8 PM. (God, what a pathetic life I lead.) They go all out for this too...they have hors d'oeuvres, punch, party favors, and entertainment. It's fun for the residents, we get paid, and everyone's happy.

So anyway, I was running late for the gig (don't even ask me why). When I got to the lobby, the security guards (for fun) made me sing for them to prove that I was actually with the band as opposed to an impostor. Once that was done, I scrambled to the social hall as fast as my fat little legs would carry me. OK, I'm cool, I'm at the gig.

Two senior citizens (both men) managed to melt my heart in the course of the hour I was there. One sat in the front row, and when I came out to sing my first number, he started to cry. I thought the song reminded him of his wife or something, and I patted him on the shoulder because I figured it would pass. But then, he cried during other songs too.

I sat next to him to visit. He apologized for crying, but he was a musician for many years and he couldn't play anymore and he was just so happy to be able to hear a good band again. I got to I am, wanting to quit when I can still do what I love, and here's someone else who can't do what they love and have to be content to sit and listen.

The other man was a stroke victim, and his daughter and son-in-law were there as well, enjoying the music. When the concert was over, I was talking to a few band folks and then as I walked past, the daughter touched my arm and said, "My dad has something he wants to say to you."

My first thought was, "Oh god, did I say something wrong?" But I went over to him and asked him how he liked the show.

He replied, "You could really make it big. What are you doing here?"

Now that's a question I ask myself 50 times a day. In my daydreams, I'm accepting Grammys and Oscars, singing to sold-out auditoriums. In reality I'm answering phone calls from people who mis-pronounce my boss' name on an hourly basis.

But (I swear this is true) I heard a little voice inside myself say, "This is why you shouldn't quit, Sudie. Talk to him."

I told him, "Well, if I made it big, then I wouldn't have time to sing for you. I'd rather sing for you."

So there you have it...the Grinchette's heart grew two sizes that day, and I didn't quit the big band. I hope Dad was watching...

And for 2006, I am going to try my best to just get over myself and like people and things based on what's inside as opposed to outside. I may have to get a few hundred things off my chest, but that's what this blog is for, right? Right.

Love to all, and here's to a fulfilling '06!