A way to speak when words simply don’t. A key to community. A deep step into bonding. A catalyst for love. Music. It is so important in our home. This story is not the beginning of when it became so, but an important chapter in our story.
Singing Telegram Deliveries. . .raising money for our family mission trip. Valentines Day 2011.
We had pre-orders, showed up with a uke, guitar, percussion instruments, smiles, voices, dresses and sponsored tuxedos. . . here is what happened.
2-10-2011, 5:00 pm: a home for the homeless. The march in was a little unnerving as we shook off the last of our performance jitters. The new meeting room at the Valley House Homeless Shelter was a splendid location for our first telegram delivery. We had an anonymous donation to our mission fund and were told to simply bless a family with a song. . .We labored in prayer over who to bless. There are SO many choices. In the end, I called the director at Valley House to ask if there was a specific family who could use a smile. She arranged to have ALL the residents in the meeting room for our “secret delivery.” I was encouraged that our first delivery was so suited to the cause of our fundraising. Our mission trip is to help the homeless in inner city L.A. Here we were seeking to serve the homeless, at home. Thank you, Lord. We sang and shivered and smiled amidst some distant faces and some that were engaged in our song moment. 5 tiny newborns were present. 5 tiny bodies with no permanent home. “LOVE is all that I can give to you. . .” lyrics seemed appropriate to sing, I suppose.
2-10-2011, 6:00pm: married for at least 50 years. My grandparents were expecting me to come by to check on them as planned. . . boy were they surprised when we arrived.
2-10-2011, around 6:30pm: new life center. We giggled as we rode the revolving door into St. Lukes Medical Center. The lobby was empty. We moved swiftly to the elevator and up to the 2nd floor; labor and delivery. Our prearranged plan was brilliantly executed. I called the charge nurse on the way up and she escorted us to the break room. The recipient was ushered in. . .and SUPRISE! “On behalf of your loving husband, Happy Valentine’s Day.” Our audience grew to about 10 when you count all the nurses and the cafeteria staff member straining their necks to see into the break room- turned-choral-hall. Jon was definitely nominated for husband of the year!
2-10-2011, 7:30pm: hip surgery can keep you down. She was in her easy chair, just 11 days after surgery. It must be hard to care for yourself and your home if you live alone and are recovering from such a painful surgery. She didn’t know we were coming. . . none of us had it planned.
It was amazing how contagious the feeling of bringing joy to people was. The kids would say, “Who else can we bless?” So we drove around that night with the agenda of “practicing” our telegrams. I think it was one of the best nights in our whole life.
First Night we stopped at the homeless shelter, serenaded a house full of foster kids, a sweet shut-in, a late night attendant at the hospital, a nurse that welcomes new life at the request of her adoring hubbie, my grandparents and dear friends.
2-11-2011, 8:30am: baby center: Upon calling for the charge nurse, this time, the recipient answered. I hung up. . .slightly embarrassed, we proceeded back up to the 2nd floor at St. Lukes. This morning’s nurse was certainly surprised to find us in the break room with a ukulele, tuxedos, fancy dresses and a love song sang on behalf of her husband. She was as embarrassed as blessed, I think. Knowing her was an added bonus for us.
Second day we “blessed” my sweet friend on behalf of her hubbie. . .even though she threatened me with death if we did.
2-13-2011: girl- you crazy. This one was one of my top 5, for sure. We made our way to the duplex door adorned in big smiles and sequins and bowties. A HUGE Hispanic man answered the door. After confirming that he was the recipient, we began our snapping. . . count one- I searched for eye contact beneath his beanie, count two -my eyes shifted to his long go-tee, count three- I read the tattoo across his neck, count four- eye contact. . . smile. . . sing. This scene was a bit like a movie. Six formally dressed performers carrying a guitar, harmonica and 4 glittery hearts that spell out the word L.O.V.E. approach the front door in the “lower rent district” of town. We begin singing, onlookers start capturing this moment on their cell phones. During the climax of the song and crescendo of the voices we all go down in one knee. . . this big burley guys cracks. . . he looks at his wife and says– “Girl-you crazy. . .” shaking his head and blinking away misty eyes. . .it was one of the greatest moments. . .
2-13-2011, 2:30pm: a relationship of crisis: Top 5 list here too. Mixed family? Yes. Baggage? Plenty. Pain? Abounding. Committed? Still. . . While singing, I slipped away in my mind. Inside I went to that place of hurt I had been when my own relationship was one of crisis. While my smile didn’t slip and my voice didn’t crack; my heart welled up with empathy and remembrance. Songs of hope flowed. Happy Valentine’s Day. You made it to another one.
2-13-2011, 3:00pm: birthday girl: Mariah was commissioned to bake a cake for a surprise birthday celebration for our new friend. We decided to surprise everyone at the party in our own way. We directed the guest of honor to the cozy chair and then we sang our heart out!! THEN we scooped up her hosts and had a singing and dancing time for these sweet newlyweds! It was a sweet time together. My Watermelon uke got a good workout this weekend.
2-13-2011: Chili’s #1. We were directed to Chili’s for a surprise serenade to a husband and wife enjoying an evening away from “all the kids.” On the way out, we handed out flyers that resulted in 3 more orders!
Day Three we walked the spectrum from newlywed delight to cold hearts. Everyone present was moved by the contrast of today’s Life Love Song.
THE BIG DAY:12 hours of singing
2-14-2011, 8:30am: good morning mister. This was a home delivery for an unsuspecting Mr. Becker. Delightful.
2-14-2011, 9:30am: teach me how to love. Husband of the year, prompted by a best friend — ordered a singing telegram to a special teacher at Buhl High School. While the whole class looked on and she wept, we belted out our best vocal performance. The whole class clapped along!
2-14-2011, 10:00am: would have been their 61st wedding anniversary. A very special daughter ordered a home delivery to her mom. Today would have been the 61st anniversary for this widow and her beloved. She gave us gifts of hugs for all. This was tied for Daniel’s favorite. (Top 5 here too.)
2-14-2011, 10:30am: hear two of these and be blessed by mid morning. My BFF and her whole crew are sick. . .down and out sick. We hoped to bring a smile on this festive day. Unknowingly, until today, it was a great exchange. We gave our gift in song and in return we came home with a nasty cold.
2-14-2011, 11:00am: singled out at work. Just before the lunch hour—our musical gift was given at Edward Jones on Filmore St. She smiled. . . later her husband messaged that she was SO EMABARRESSED!
2-14-2011, 11:30am: rehab. We arrived at the St. Lukes campus on Addison Rd in search of our recipient only to find she didn’t work there, but that we were delivering to her while she was receiving rehabilitation services. It was splendid!
2-14-2011, 1:00pm: art and Art. Our customer, Art, ordered a sharing of our performing art with his lovely wife at work. She in turn ordered (and doubled our money) we share our “art” with her husband, Art, just 2 doors down. After photos together and stories shared, it turned out Art is the leader of the Art Guild of Magic Valley and would like us to share our “art” in a number of upcoming events. Can you believe that? We got cookies here too!
(after a break and watching a classic Valentine’s Day flick, “Sleepless in Seattle” )
2-14-2011, 3:30pm: serenade at Subaru. This brought new meaning to “showroom.” We had plenty of room to really “ham-up” this performance! All the car salesmen captured the show on their iphones!
2-14-2011, 4:00pm: unchained melody (LOL). The gentlemen at Superior Chain in Twin Falls were the recipient of a very special song/comedy act! Upon entering, I managed to step on Mady with my high heel shoe. After a public “the show must go on” speech, we began to sing. Daniel over compensated for Mady’s part which made all of us laugh out loud, even Mady. Then she wasn’t sad, she was mad that her daddy made her laugh in “pout” mode. It was a total crack up. But one of the guys ordered a repeat act to be delivered to his wife. Back to the hospital for St. Lukes #3. (Top 5 status here, too.)
2-14-2011, 4:45pm: quiet area. Her cheeks turned as red as her hair as we began to sing. The entire floor of nurses and doctors came to the nurses’ station to see what was going on. Apparently we were singing our hearts out in a “quiet area” of the floor. Who knew?
2-14-2011, 4:50pm: a well timed emergency. Our next recipient happened to be at the triage admitting desk in the ER—with a patient. No song delivered. Darn.
2-14-2011, 5:10pm: music to your ears. All our instruments were purchased and many hours have been spent at the Music Center downtown. We showed off our “skills” to the owner. Unfortunately, his wife had just stepped out.
2-14-2011, 5:30pm: telegram on aisle 5. If you know me very well, you know I spend a lot of my life at our local Albertson’s grocery store. They know me by name. While stocking back up on chocolates, we thought we would serenade all the checkers. It was hilarious. Keep in mind it was just past 5:00 on Valentine’s Day. . . the place was packed!
2-14-2011, 6:30pm: “red” is for Valentine’s Day. A fellow employee at Subaru hired us to deliver to her husband in her Kimberly home. She had him set up for a group of church leaders to come have a “meeting” with him. Instead, we arrived. There was an older gentleman seated in his easy chair with a blanket on his lap. Candles were lit all around. He says, “ well she really got me good!” When were done singing and shaking hands and saying good-bye, his wife walked us outside. With tear filled eyes, she thanks us for coming out to their home. She said that Red (that is his name) needs a liver transplant and is in failing health. She sent us off with “God’s blessings.” And smiled and waved. This was amazing—top 5 of amazing moments.
2-14-2011, 6:50pm: happy Valentine’s Day Mama! This mom was super shocked when we knocked on her door. The living room was full of teenagers and one very hip mama! We sang and she cried and his friends hi-fived! When we were leaving, he wrapped his arms around his mom and says, “HAPPY VALENTINES DAY MAMA!!” It was beyond precious. One of my favorite memories!
2-14-2011, 8:00pm: Chili’s #2. The place was packed! We serenaded Justin and his sweet girlfriend. They were probably 17 years old. We sang all the way out of the restaurant—every other teen date was looking at her date saying with her eyes, “ how come you didn’t order that for me?” LOL.
There are not words to explain the magnitude of influence these few days have had on our life. I am confident that there was divine orchestration in all the details. There were moments that will remain in our hearts forever. The bond in my family grew in strength. We delighted in each other and the power LOVE can have on anyone.