by Randy Chambers
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Not For Sale
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"Hit the tambourine, Billy!" Lisa's frustration rode atop her crinkled brow. "Hit it!" she again demanded. Billy's concentration paid no heed to Lisa's angry shrills. His tongue protruded, and wiggled about as if seeking--in vain attempt--to set the cadence for his rhythmically challenged hands.
Billy was a hopeless case--Lisa was sure of that. He wouldn’t listen, he completely ignored her, and he didn’t even seem to care. He just stood there, whacking away with that flyswatter he called a tambourine. Lisa lifted her eyes and looked around at the rest of the music class. Most were just like Billy. Why should she even bother? Why should she even try? She had all she could take! She crossed her arms furiously and grimaced! “I hate you all!”
Mrs. Martin wore many hats: teacher, playground monitor…weather forecaster… She had already been observing the brewing storm from across the room and with timely stealth made her way to Lisa to batten down the hatches before the big one blew.
“Now let’s pick up our wooden blocks and play our song with the other children.”
“Let someone else play the woodblocks. I am so very much better with the tambourine!”
Mrs. Martin picked up the woodblocks and held them out toward Lisa. “Here, Lisa. It’ll be fun.” Lisa scowled at Mrs. Martin, looked down at the woodblocks and begrudgingly took them from her teacher’s hand. She slapped the blocks together once in protest then folded her arms and glared. Mrs. Martin turned and walked back to front and center of the classroom.
Tap, tap, tap. The baton smacked against the steel, black music stand, then raised high into the air anticipating the first downbeat. “Ready?” Mrs. Martin raised the question above the clatter of the class, and waited all eyes to turn and fix on her. A moment passed, then all was still. With swift agility the baton came down to strike the silence and birth a rippled wake of varied pitch. Mrs. Martin smiled as though they all struck chord in sync, and she received their mislaid strikes and blows as though a child’s homemade gift.
Before long, all the whistles, thumps, thuds, and whines clamored together into an indistinguishable clump. Mrs. Martin continued waving her baton—up and down—slow and steady.
Mrs. Martin looked over at Lisa. Lisa hadn’t moved. Her arms still folded, she pouted with every part of her body. She stopped conducting and moved toward Lisa. The class continued playing without hesitation.
“Lisa, what’s wrong?”
“We sound awful!”
Mrs. Martin thought for a second, and then leaned closer and whispered in Lisa’s ear. Lisa’s expression perked and gleamed. Mrs. Martin smiled and handed the baton to Lisa, and walked with Lisa to the podium.
“Class, Lisa is going to conduct for us for a little while.”
The noise tapered then faded, awaiting the baton’s approval to continue. “Ready?” Lisa authoritatively queried. She tapped the stand and with one continual motion began pumping the baton. The class joined in.
Lisa’s face beamed. The other musicians returned to sternly focusing on their own parts to play. Mrs. Martin stepped back to listen and watch. In all the clamoring chaos, there was a melodious symphony of sorts. The clanging, clopping, clapping, tom-tom thud and finger snapping; popping, clucking, and off key plucking sent shivers from ear to spine. And yet, the little hands beating, and little arms flailing gave eye to heart endearing sight of angel’s wings in splendid flight. For to the eye that sees, there was the Maker’s mark of pleasant approval upon such a glorious display. And in that precious moment in time, within the heart of this particular music class teacher, there grew a deeper understanding of the Master’s love for all the little children of the world.
At end of class, the students scooted and scraped their metal chairs, hurried toward the instrument cabinet and laid their instruments to rest—as it were. They hurried out, with their guest conductor waiting until last to leave. Lisa stopped at the door where Mrs. Martin stood. Still beaming, Lisa looked up at her teacher.
“Mrs. Martin! Didn’t we sound great today?”
“Yes, Lisa. It was something wasn’t it?”
Left alone in the quiet, music room, Mrs. Martin began straightening. The children’s music resonated in her heart, and lifted to her lips.
“Jesus loves the little children…”
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