Just a thought… The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away. [Pablo Picasso]
Well, hello there! Hope you had a restful weekend, as the process of “getting back to” continues in so very many lives. It’s as if, with the flip of a calendar, the weather also flipped a switch: from slathering on sunscreen to layering with windbreakers and vests in about a day. We follow Toronto weather, of course, and couldn’t help noticing pleas for school air conditioning amidst record-breaking September temperatures one day, and lamentation about the onset of sweater weather just a few days later.
Here in the Victoria area, the long wished-for rains have set in. Unfortunately, they arrive at the same time as our Ontario company; Rob’s friend from hockey in Toronto is staying with us a few days, having come west for a cycling marathon on the mainland this past weekend. A soggy cycling marathon at that. But, oh, Mother Nature gave us a nice show to wrap up a soggy Sunday last evening! This was the view from our deck.
But enough about the weather! We’re just grateful that the Labour Day weekend was absolute perfection – sunshine and low 20s – for what’s become a regular event in our lives: the Saanich Fall Fair. Just as we did last year as part of our local chapter of Rotary International, Rob and I volunteered to help the games section of the fair run smoothly. I took the mic on Saturday and emceed Bingo for four hours straight, which was big fun – but not a great idea.
These days, I talk so much less than I used to. Living somewhat blessedly insular lives, quiet conversations with Rob and the odd phone call and paid voice job make up most of the work my vocal cords have to do. So I did something that turned out to be both predictable and dangerous: I blew out my voice on Saturday. We went from this:
…to this. Rob jumped in and spelled off my Bingo calling shifts on Sunday and Monday; I sold playing cards and helped out on other games at the fair.
Ordinarily, I would have just taken my lumps and reminded myself not to go so hard next year, but there was a sense of panic this time: I was booked for a directed voice session at 9 am on Tuesday and my voice had to be ready for it. A video for an American utility company, I was going to be led through it via conference call by a company representative on the phone from Boston, as well as the director (also on the east coast).
I tried to stay as silent as I could during the evenings leading up, Googled remedies, inhaled steam with a towel over my head and sucked on lumps of coconut oil. (Oh, and yes, it’s a laxative; just one of the reasons why Piña Coladas can have you visiting the little tourists’ rooms when you’re on vacation!)
Still unsure if I was going to have to cancel the session and beg for a do-over, we got up two hours early on Tuesday and, instead of my usual coffees, I drank peppermint tea. I practised singing and talking in the shower, trying to get my sound from “two-pack-a-day smoker” to the voice they expected after they chose my audition for the video.
Nine o’clock came and Rob and I thought it was worth a shot. After a 90-minute session, I made it through and hopefully the folks paying me for the job were none the wiser. But I am. The timing couldn’t have been more precarious.
I took some gentle ribbing from family and friends for calling Bingo – after all of the years of other work I’d done on the mic. But while I’m still happy to be hired for emceeing (I’m travelling to Regina this month and Winnipeg next month, then Halifax and Toronto in November), there’s a lot to be said for volunteering to help out in your community – something we’ve always known and tried to instill in our daughter as well. Rotary has been a great fit for Rob and me and it’s been a great way to make new friends and feel that I’m giving back to a place we now call home.
But I’ll tell you, those Bingo folks are hard core, some of them. I’m sure I got yelled at when I was on the radio for making mistakes but, at least if you were yelling, I couldn’t hear it! Keeps you humble, that’s for sure!
Have a gentle Monday, a sweet and happy New Year if you’re marking Rosh Hashanah, and I’ll be back with you tomorrow with a lovely bit of news.