Rethinking the flames

For those of you who have been married forever, you know there are exchanged looks with your spouse that speak a thousand words. Entire conversations take place with looks.

My husband Eric and I had a couple of those conversations the other night during our son’s choir concert. Matthew, also referred to as Crayon for some reason unknown to his parents, is in his senior year in high school. This was the school’s first choir concert of the year. Like most schools, Murray County Central has their large group choirs, but they also have two smaller choirs. Chamber Choir is made of a group of kids who gather every morning before school to practice. Rebel Voices is a choir the students audition for, and is generally a dozen kids or less.

Matthew has been part of Rebel Voices for a few years, been never part of Chamber Choir. Getting up early isn’t his specialty.

Which is why Eric and I were surprised to see Matt’s name on the program under the Chamber Choir section. He was listed as the guitar player. He may have mentioned this, but it is hard to tell, because he talks about guitars, music, bands, music, practice and music about 90 percent of the time. As the mom of a teenager and several semi-adult children who have already passed that stage, I perfected the art of nodding my head and pretending to listen long ago. For any parent who claims not to do this, you’re either in denial or had better learn the art fast before you lose your sanity.

Anyway, the Chamber Choir came walking on stage, all decked out fancy — young men in tuxedo shirts and vests, young ladies in flowing black gowns. Matthew followed and stepped up to a set of African drums, where he proceeded to hammer out a beat for the first song.

My husband gave me a look that said, “Did you know he could do this?”

I gave him a look back that said, “Yes, why don’t you?” which pretty much stopped that visual conversation.

The song ended and Matt disappeared from stage, only to return with a guitar. I bit my lip to keep from smiling, thinking back to a conversation that had taken place between my husband and I about a year ago.  Let’s just call it “To flame or not to flame?”

There was Matthew on the stage, all decked out in black and white, looking rather grown up and as dignified as a 17-year-old kid can look while holding a black acoustic guitar with bright red and orange flame stickers on the front.

I glanced at Eric. I believe he was rethinking the flames.

I’m sure they seemed pretty cool at the time he was contemplating buying Matt a new acoustic for Christmas last year. Tossing a tuxedo into the mix probably didn’t occur to him.

So, the two of us, along with everyone else in the auditorium, watched and listened as Matt played along with the choir. During the applause that followed, Eric didn’t say a word, although both of us smiled as Matt dropped a slightly awkward bow and grinned when the choir teacher gestured toward him. As the kids filed off stage, Eric glanced at me. Then glanced away. Then looked back. The following no-word conversation ensued:

“Um, do you suppose…?”

“Well, probably not.”

“It seemed like a good idea at the time.”

“Or not.”

We both grinned, and he said one word.


Snicker, snicker.

That night in the auditorium, rethinking the flames, I would have nixed the idea. Now, rethinking the rethinking, I say, “Flame on!”

It builds character. Not everyone can pull off a tux and fake flames. Well, not without cutting a woman in half and pulling a rabbit out of a hat, anyway.

5 thoughts on “Rethinking the flames

  1. You’d never know you felt that way about him from any of your blog entries about him.

  2. If you think the blog entries mock the dude, you should hear me at home.

    He can handle it. He’s a big boy.

  3. If there’s anything either of my parents taught me in life, it’s how to take a joke, and how to make others laugh. I know whenever I see my name mentioned in one of these blogs, I giggle and smile. Also, the only person who makes fun of Matt more than my parents, is Matthew himself.

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