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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Magpie Tales: red umbrella

Prompt photo provided by Magpie Tales
Barbershop, 1958


The barbershop quartet had just finished the evening’s practice with their signature song, “Singing in the Rain,” and Ernie was heading home, carrying his lunchbox and holding his umbrella, when he heard the song again.
The song was the same, the timing and phrasing were the same, but the voices weren’t those of his quartet, which had been together for years, and had been singing this song ever since he and his wife had seen the movie with Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds.
Ernie looked around, stopped, removed the umbrella from over his head, and listened carefully. The sound seemed to be coming from the nearby lane.
As he approached it, he noticed five bicycles lined up along the street, as if their owners had all arrived together.
He looked down the lane and there, to his surprise, he saw five young men he had always considered layabouts and good-for-nothings — not ruffians, not criminals, but just the kind of youth he wouldn’t particularly want his daughter to bring home, if he had a daughter.
Four of them were were standing up straight, arms at their sides, one foot slightly in front of the other, shoulders back, while the fifth young man seemed to be directing them, suddenly saying, “No, no, no, stop. Now try it again. Griff, you try to remember how Mr. Ernie does it, you have to get it right.”
Ernie smiled, stepped back into the shadows so they wouldn’t see him, and listened. He heard them sing the song three more times before he realized he’d better get home. His wife would be worried, and she’d be alone, now that their twin sons had left for university.
As he turned, he heard the voice he assumed was Griff.
“Anybody would think we’re trying out for the stage, not entertaining at the youth center’s Christmas party, the way you push us, Max.”
“I have to push you,” he heard the young conductor reply. “One of these days, I want Mr. Ernie to listen to us and I want him to like what he hears.”

Posted for Magpie Tales
hosted each week by Willow, who provided the photo to get us to start writing. Thanks, I really enjoy this meme but I've been away. It's good to be back.

To see how the photo inspired other writer-bloggers, please click HERE!

15 comments:

Cad said...

I know barbershop quartets sing at the drop of a hat, never mind rain...

diane b said...

Clever writing!

izzy said...

Oh this is a great take on the photo!
I can really relate to the youngsters wanting to impress 'Ernie'. Love how you jumped right into the scene. Thanks.

Mara said...

I love that film and must have watched it about twenty times so far! And that song is so catchy...

Friko said...

Ah, a nice sentimental little tale.
I'm glad that you are reminding that not all youths are destructive hooligans.

Brian Miller said...

aww...this was a nice and heart warming tale...love the sound of a good barbershop quartet...and hope that ernie enjoys it...

kaykuala said...

Ernie must have felt good. Sometimes a team may just be given a little guidance. Left on their own they might come up with wonders to justify it. Good little story!

Hank

Tess Kincaid said...

Nice write...thanks for the smiles...

thingy said...

This is lovely and for me, it reminds me not to judge people so quickly.

Mystic_Mom said...

Love how you used the elements of the photo in a neat response...very well done!

Berowne said...

Nice story, nice take on the prompt.

HyperCRYPTICal said...

What a heartwarming tale with a lovely ending. It is so easy to misjudge others.

Anna :o]

Nicholas V. said...

A good read! I was wondering who was going to incorporate those barbershop poles into their Magpie!

Trellissimo said...

Lovely little tale!

chiccoreal said...

Very atmospheric and full of nostalgia. A great write!