Friday, October 23, 2009

Whistle for me

My mother could whistle better than any guy, and long before it was fashionable. She even whistled through her teeth while playing softball on a young women’s team (unheard of). Later, she “whistled while she worked” around our house.

I thought of her today when a meadowlark serenaded me from a nearby field. It was the eastern variety; its song shorter than the western meadowlark my mother imitated.

“I am a pretty little bird,” she said in a singsong voice, followed by a perfect whistle rendition of a meadowlark’s song. She could mimic all of the local birds with a whistle that was sweet and clear, even on the highest notes. She had a beautiful singing voice as well, and used her talents in the church choir and to sing us lullabies before we went to sleep.

One night my girl friend stayed over and heard my mother singing in the kitchen. I squirmed with embarrassment. When my friend remarked that my mother had a beautiful voice, my fears melted away. I never appreciated until that moment how lucky I was to have a mother who could sing and whistle for us.

I heard a meadowlark today, and thought of my mother.