Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Blue Eyes

My grandmother could sing, a talent she passed on to my father and my sister, but definitely not to me. At twelve, during a Christmas pageant, I was asked to just mouth the words to the Christmas carols because I was throwing off an entire bleacherful of angels.

One of Grandma's favorite songs was "Has Anybody Seen My Gal?" with its description of that lost lady: five foot two, eyes of blue. Now science knows why that missing gal had blue eyes. The gene is located somewhere near area OCA2; it's recessive (but we already knew that); and it comes from a single mutation 6,000 - 10,000 years ago somewhere in the Balkans. That person didn't have blue eyes, and neither did his/her children. But somewhere along the way, two descendents both carrying the recessive gene had the world's first blue-eyed baby.

What did they think about that? That it was a curse, a blessing, a portent, a mistake? Was that first blue-eyed baby revered or reviled or killed? Today 300 million people carry the recessive gene. Among them are the Berbers; when I lived in Tunisia (a very long time ago), I saw a lot of blue-eyed Arabs. I, too, must possess the gene; both my children have blue eyes, although I do not. I always wanted them, however, just as I wanted a lot of other things I wasn't born with: curly hair, good teeth, athleticism.

And the ability to sing without clearing the whole room.


The Pondering Tree's Alpha Site said...

With color contacts, you can get your blue eyes wholesale, Nancy.

S. F. Murphy

Mike Flynn said...

bluesman miike Lindner said...

Aw, Nancy, anyone who can talk can sing. Just find your range.

As we were talkin' once in Brockport, at your place, I was a boy soprano before my voice changed. Performed at the NY World's Fair, didn't I?

Became embittered after the hormones took over... Found meself a broken-down bluesman!

But hey--notes are still there!

Remember Higgins' Taproom in B-port? One night Rein Brodesser and his band were onstage. I was sitting at a table with my girlfriend Laura. Rein said, over the mic, "Well, we're gonna play a Dylan song now. I SHALL BE RELEASED. See Mike right here. He wants to come up on stage and give us a hand..." Being a natural-born ham, I didn't have to be asked twice. Just sang low part on the chorus, not to crab the act. Got back to the table, a guy leaned over and said, " guys sounded like The Band!" Laura said with delight, "That's my boyfriend!"

So, yeah, anyone can sing. It's only Satan who wants us to think we can't. Because Satan hates =everything= that brings us together.

karen wester newton said...

Bluesman Mike, I beg to differ! Singing is not in the voice, it's in the ear, which I don't have. If you can't hear the tones, you can't reproduce them.

As for blue-eyed babies, don't they all have blue eyes at first, and then as they get older some change and some don't? My kids had murky blue eyes when they were born, so I was prepared for the fact they would soon be brown.

bluesman miike Lindner said...

Gotta question that, Karen. I believe =very, very= few people are truly "tone-deaf." (I.e., you can't tell if one note, in normal range--call that the piano range-- is higher or lower than another.

Don't you modulate your voice higher to, say, ask a question? Or lower, to make a serious point?

karen wester newton said...

Bluesamn Mike- I once sat down with a choir director while he played tones on a piano and I tried to sing the same tone. He said, and I quote, "Well, you're not COMPLETELY tone deaf, but you sure are tone poor."

bluesman miike Lindner said...

That was a poor choir director. Anyone with interest, wanting to sing in a choir...there's =always= a place. What he =should= have said, "Karen, here's a middle C. Hum with me. Good! And here's a D, that's 2 half-steps up. Excellent! An E--another tone up... You got it! And here's an F--little trickier, just a half-tone higher...just hum to the note...That's really excellent, Karen!" THAT is the way a =true= musician encourages and teaches.