November 24, 2002 - Sunday
When I sing to Harry at night, when I'm not in good voice or make some kind of mistake, I sometimes wonder how much he's evaluating my performance. I know well that he's listening, but singing the same songs through the course of many nights, I might think that, like the direction of an oft-read story, he'd begin to have some expectations about the songs. Or, maybe he's too young to know much about singing, pitch, and maybe the words just string together.
Tonight I sang "King of the Road, " as I have many times over the last few weeks. I must have sung this song for him dozens times over that time and, without fail, every time I get to the bridge, no matter how sleepy he is or how much he doesn't seem to care about it or how much he's in a bad mood, he always starts waving his arms and doing something of a little dance (even in bed) to the music. Soon after the swinging bridge ends, his arms stop.
This time on the reprise of the first verse I happened to twist my tongue, have a mind cramp, or whatever. Instead of singing "I'm a man of means by no means, King of the Road," it came out "I'm a Fan of means by no means..." I finished the song and started to say goodnight to Harry.
"Dad," he interrupted, "dad, you should say 'man' instead of 'fan'."
I burst out laughing. "You're right, Harry, I should say man."
"You should say 'man' instead of 'fan'," he said again.
"You're right, Harry," I said again, still laughing at the calm and thoughtful manner of his critique. "I made a mistake."
"Sing it again," he said, not in a "you can do better" way, just an extend the bedtime way as he almost always does.
I sang it again, careful to get the words right.
After I finished, Harry noted that I "sang man, not fan." He was listening all right.