Two Singing Sisters
”This has to be the place.” My sister is driving. My sister does all the driving and I do all the bookings. We sing. We sing in Nursing homes. Some people think that’s funny. When we first started our joint venture, our husbands laughed out loud when we told them our idea. My husband asked, “How will you make any money doing that?” He emphasized that.
We tried to give them the entire picture, but they kept hooting it up and making jokes so we quit. I think my husband thought the idea was finished until the day I told him he needed to be home on time because we had our first singing gig. He smiled as he asked me the details. I think he thought it was cute.
“We’ve been invited to sing at the Annadale Center.
That’s all he said as he absent-mindedly picked up the mail.
“They’ll pay us, too.”
It sounded like he was patting the top of my head. That bugged me.
“Well, will you be home on time Thursday or not?” I persisted.
“Sure, honey.” He tossed the mail back into the place he picked it up from and walked away. I knew unless he checked his palm pilot he wouldn’t have a clue as to his Thursday schedule. Which meant he didn’t think it would pan out. But it did pan out.
We were scared to death that first gig. After we had sung two songs, we realized the residents were the best audience we could ever have. They were pretty much captive, they were starved for live entertainment and really didn’t mind when we goofed. They were enthusiastic, and appeared to enjoy every song and every minute. Our first pay was miniscule, but to us it represented more than mere money. We had finally put action to one of our many income-producing schemes. I came up with the name Two Singing Sisters off the top of my head. But it’s perfect for our act. It tells the residents exactly who we are and what to expect. Nothing fancy. Two sisters who sing.
We were at Annadale for three months when someone there told someone at another Nursing home about us and voila, another gig.
At our second venue we let the front desk know we have arrived and are led to a large, community room. The residents are lined up at tables. Most are sitting with their mouths open and appear to be asleep.
We start with a show tune. No one moves or acknowledges our presence. Even the nursing staff appears busy with other duties. After three more songs, some of them start to sing with us. Slowly, they mouth the words they remember. A couple of residents make requests. They smile. We finish our set and they clap for us. We are packing up our CD’s when a man with a white-haired buzz cut ambles up. He looks confused.
“Do you know where Amy is?” he asks.
“No, I’m sorry sir, I don’t.” answers my sister.
“She was just here, she said she’d be right back.” He is insistent. We continue packing.
He touches my arm, gently, and his gesture is sad. I turn and face him. Life has slowed for him, nearly stopped. I feel disrespectful ignoring his polite interference with my busy schedule.
“Do you know where I live?” he asks. I pat his arm.
“You live right here.” I answer brightly. He looks at me and blinks. He shakes his head.
“No, this isn’t my house.” He continues to look at me like I’m lying to him on purpose and he’s trying to figure out why. He puts down his head and shuffles away.
My heart breaks for him and all the others, for my future, too. Why do we have to travel this ruthless route to heaven?
Suddenly, I realize Two Singing Sisters is more than another weird scheme to make money. We’re a small part of a big plan; His plan that I’m interpreting on my way toward eternity.
“Sir”, I call, “Can I sit and talk with you?” He nods politely. I smile.
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