Marriage is work, but itâ€™s also play if you have the right partner.Â Imagine how it must be for those who are married and who work together.Â Romance at home has the potential to make the workspace a smile-fest, while a spat at home could turn hellish as you smile through gritted teeth at the office, factory, or stage.Â Stage?? Â Stage? Yep.
This past Saturday night my hubby and I went to see the Bluegrass group, â€œMonroe Crossing.â€Â Iâ€™ve been passively following them for a number of years and enjoy their stage presence, instrumental excellence, and vocal harmonizing.Â There are five members; and two of the group are married to each other.Â Lisa Fuglie and Mark Anderson make beautiful music on stage, and I hope, at home as well.
What made me laughâ€¦in an all too knowing mannerâ€¦ was a moment on stage during the encore.Â But first let me back up a smidge.Â Beepâ€¦beepâ€¦beep (thatâ€™s the safety warning required by OSHA when backing up.)
Earlier in the evening I was peevish with my husband because I felt he wasnâ€™t listening to me.Â When, as we sat waiting for Monroe Crossing to take the stage, he asked why I was wearing a squintchee (roughly equivalent to a frown laced with pain) face, I told him, â€œYou donâ€™t listen to me.â€Â This in turn irked him, because he felt I was ignoring the 99.9% of the time that he does listen and does makes me happy.Â We sat in the second row of the theater with the tension so thick between us I think it was drifting up on stage. Â Iâ€™m relatively sure one band member tripped over it, now that I think about it.
Okay, enough about that. Let’s get back to Monroe Crossing, the encore, and Lisa and Mark.Â Monroe Crossing had said goodnight and trooped off stage.Â The audience stood hooting and applauding until first Lisa emerged back on stage, and then was shortly followed by Mark.Â Normally Lisa plays a wicked fiddle and mandolin, but for this song she selected a guitar from the lineup of stringed instruments.
Lisa began to preface the story behind the music they were about to play when she strummed a guitar chord. Â â€œGood Lord!â€ she exclaimed. â€œThatâ€™s horrible.Â Mark, you tell the story while I work on getting the guitar to sound right.â€
Mark plays the bass, so he leaned against the behemoth and beganâ€¦â€œThe next song is based on a true story.Â Lisaâ€™s father is 83 years oldâ€¦â€
Lisa: â€œHeâ€™s 85.â€ She continued tuning the guitar. Plink, plink, plink.
Mark: â€œReally? 85?â€
Lisa: â€œHe turns 86 on his next birthday.â€ Still tuning and listening to the stringsâ€¦ strum, plink, plink, plink, struuuuum.
Mark:Â â€œHuh.Â Well, anyway, when he was a little boyâ€¦â€
Lisa: â€œHe was 5 years old.â€ Plink, plink, plink.
Mark: â€œâ€¦when he was 5 years old, his family lived in Northwestern Minnesota.â€
Lisa: â€œThey lived in ___________(gave name of town, which I donâ€™t recall.) She eyes Mark with what can best be described as â€œa look.â€Â You know, that â€œlookâ€ that says youâ€™ve heard me tell this story a million times, why donâ€™t you remember it?
Mark: â€œIt was during the depression, and life was hard.â€ Lisa was about to jump in again. Â He threw up his hands up and said, â€œWhy donâ€™t you tell the story?â€
Lisa sighs.Â â€œMy father was from a big family, lots of siblings.Â The depression left little money, but they had enough to eat and more than enough love.Â My grandmother had knit a pair of warm wool mittens for my father, which he cherished and wore during the two-mile walks to and from school. Â The rest of the story unfolds in the song.â€ Â She strums the guitar.
Mark: â€œUg! That could still use more tuning.â€
Lisa (with a slight tone in her voice): â€œEh. Itâ€™s good enough for Bluegrass. Letâ€™s just go.â€
They jumped into the song which, in a nutshell, told the story of how Lisaâ€™s father, age 5, made a late night outhouse run a few days before Christmas.Â It was dark, it was cold, and it was an emergency.Â After her father accomplished his business, somehow the mittensâ€”and you can guess whatâ€™s comingâ€”got knocked into the outhouse hole.Â He was embarrassed and horrified.Â On the one hand he didnâ€™t want to tell anyone what had happened, on the other hand he NEEDED those mittens to stay warm during the Minnesota winter.
A few days later, to his amazement, those freshly laundered mittens sat under the Christmas tree.Â Somehow his brother had figured out what had happened, fished them out (no details on how that occurred), and washed them all on the sly.Â Money was non-existent back then, but this gift was priceless.
After Lisa and Mark finished the song, he looked at her and chuckled.Â â€œAs hard as that was to preface, I thought you were going to say, â€œYou never listen to me!â€Â Lisa shook her head, but didnâ€™t say anything.Â I didnâ€™t either, but I snickered softly and took my husbandâ€™s hand in the dark.Â When it comes to the music of coupledom, I say, â€œHear, hear.â€Â Iâ€™ll take my chances with my 99.9% guy.