It was something I never shared with my friends, an experience that belonged only to the Kranz side of my family. I would never THINK about singing the songs that I sing with my aunt and uncles, my grandmother and grandfather, my sister, cousin, mother and father. They were songs of my dads childhood, ones that he had always sung. The Pony Man, Silouhettes on the Shade, and a childhood favorite of us three kids, Guitarzan. When I was young, I never thought about it. Yet, as I got older and was trying to find WHAT I believed, it hit me. It happened this Christmas Season as we performed our ritual of reading the Christmas story and sang carols in pre-ordained spots. Yet, this time, it was not in a cozy living room of my grandparents Kranz. It was in a smaller room at an assisted living home. My grandmother was in her chair, her eyes staring at some unknown thing, mouth gaping open and yet turning up in a smile when she heard something she recognized. Stroaks and old age had taken her mind from us, a mind that used to spout songs and poetry, jokes and sharp-wit. I read the story for the first time, awkward and coughing, and my sister would announce the carol we were to sing. And we sang, all of us. My father and uncle the tenors, my cousin the bass, mom and my sister the altos, and my cousins girlfriend and the sopranos. It was his face as he looked around at us, and the smile on his old leathery face when my grandmother began to sing. My grandfather felt it, the power of this music. It needed no instruments, it needed no CD to play underneath. It just needed us, our voices, and our want to sing together. I believe in the power of singing together. But most importantly, it holds the power to move us to laughter or tears, and moves a mind stuck in some grey world, a mind that we thought we had lost…to start singing the words of a familiar and comforting carol.
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