Friday, September 4, 2015

MAUI: Madison Area Ukulele Initiative

Last night I went to my second East Side Club business meeting, and I got to talking to a friendly but somewhat tipsy woman who asked if I were retired. Having no sort of poker face, I said in horror, “No, I can’t retire for twenty years!” and she said something about how people are retiring younger these days, but I’m afraid she had thought I was old enough to retire. Am I looking particularly haggard lately? This is just a month after that crazy twentysomething girl thought I was the mother of a guy in his late twenties. Yeah, maybe if I’d started at fifteen…

I had to cut out of the business meeting early to go to MAUI, or Madison Area Ukulele Initiative. (I LOVE that acronym!) This was the beginners’ singalong, at a very lovely house on the East Side, and there were about fifteen other people there. Before we began, the leader asked us to each introduce ourselves and tell about something unusual that had happened to us that day. I said nothing unusual had happened to me, but I’d started the day the same way I always do, sharing a banana with my pet rabbit, and he said, “That’s a wonderful story!” Like my ukulele teacher back in Maui said, only happy, friendly people play the ukulele. I felt a bit lost when we started, but I quickly learned to fudge my way through difficult stuff, like playing a G chord instead of a G7 or only two of the four strings in a B flat chord. On one song, there were so many difficult chords that each one of us took a chord and played it, as if we were playing in a handbell choir. I lucked out and got C, a very easy chord and one that appeared quite often in the song, which was “The Rainbow Connection.” One woman had an augmented C, a chord that appeared once in the entire song! During the break, people admired my ukulele, and when I said I’d gotten it in Hawaii, they were all jealous because they all want to go there themselves. What a change in my life, from being the only person in the room who hasn’t been somewhere, to the only one who has! (True story: in a college French course, our assignment was to write about our favorite memory of France, and when I said, “What if we haven’t been there?” it turned out everyone else had, so I got a special assignment – write about what I thought France would be like. And we weren’t even twenty years old at the time!) Guess I really have led an overprivileged life to make up for that early deprivation! Anyway, the point of my blog post is to say everyone should take up the ukulele, because it is a fun little instrument, and if you mess up, it doesn’t sound that bad.

Famous Hat

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