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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Key (02/14/13)

TITLE: Dust Bunnies Beware!
By Cheryl Harrison


I slowly ventured into my cluttered closet.

How does so much junk fit into such a small space?

I selected a shelf near the door and began the day's dreaded chore. As I cleaned, I sang along with the radio.

There are watercolour ponies on my refrigerator door,
And the shape of something I don't really recognize...

I tossed a worn-out shirt onto the discard pile.

Drawn by careful little fingers, and put proudly on display...

I wrestled a bulky box out of the closet.

A reminder to us all of how time flies...

The music stopped abruptly. I glanced up from my work just in time to see my oldest daughter step away from the radio.

"I hate that song," she exclaimed.

"I like it," I responded. I found the remote control and turned the radio back on.

To impart a holy reverence for the Lord...

"Mom, please don’t!" My daughter clicked the off switch and snatched the remote control from my hand. "This song makes me cry!"

"Oh, I'm sorry," I replied. "Maybe it’s written in a key that hurts your feelings."

"Yeah, maybe...," her voice faded. She dropped the remote control onto the bed, and began to examine the contents of a box. I stopped to watch her facial expression as she fished out a handful of old photos.

"Will you put those photos in this photo album?" I asked. I handed her a leather bound book.

I hauled another box over to the bed.

"Melissa, do you know anything about key signatures?"

My daughter looked at me with suspicion. "Not really. Why?"

I grinned. "A few minutes ago you silenced the radio, and when I tried to turn it back on you said, 'This song makes me cry'. So, I wondered if you knew anything about key signatures."

"Mom," she smirked, "is this one of your teachable moments?"

"You know me, I'm always looking for an opportunity to teach. I promise it won't take long."

She rolled her eyes. "Okay, you've got five minutes."

I launched into my teachable moment.

"I believe the progression of the musical key signature reflects the spiritual condition of our lives. For instance, C Major has no flats and no sharps, but the next six keys–G, D, A, E, B, and F# – have one additional sharp. So, by the time you arrive at F# major there are six sharps to deal with. Mind you this doesn't take into account the entire Circle of Fifths."

I continued, "As children we have few worries, but as we age we struggle with all the flats and sharps of life. Someday, we will leave this place and enter eternity with the Lord. It's there that I feel we will experience a heavenly F# major. I think the poet, Christian Schubart, defined the key of F# best as he wrote, ‘Triumph over difficulty, free sigh of relief uttered when hurdles are surmounted; echo of a soul which has fiercely struggled and finally conquered lies in all uses of this key'."

Melissa sighed. "I don't get it," she said.

"Oh well, you can't blame me for trying," I replied.

I retrieved a CD from a box and challenged her. “Let's listen to Watercolour Ponies!"

She grimaced. "Alright, but it's your fault if I start crying."

I hit the play button.

There are watercolour ponies on my refrigerator door
And the shape of something I don't really recognize
Drawn by careful little fingers and put proudly on display
A reminder to us all of how time flies...

The song stirred pleasant memories of my children.

Seems an endless mound of laundry and a stairway laced with toys
Gives a blow by blow reminder of the war
That we fight for their well-being, for their greater understanding
To impart a holy reverence for the Lord...

My eyes brimmed with tears. I sheepishly glanced at my daughter. Her eyes glistened, as well. I grabbed the remote control and ejected the CD.

"Sorry kid," I sniffled. "I hate this song, it makes me cry!"

We giggled at our silliness and returned to the messy closet.

"Dust bunnies beware," I quipped, "it's spring cleaning day!"


Author's Notes:

*Lyrics copied from: Watercolour Ponies, Wayne Watson (1987). Label: Word Entertainment, LLC.

**The symbol "#" represents "sharp".

***Quotation copied from: Christian Schubart's, Ideen zu einer Aesthetik der Tonkunst (1806), translated by Rita Steblin in A History of Key Characteristics in the 18th and Early 19th Centuries; UMI Research Press (1983).

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This article has been read 351 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Noel Mitaxa 02/22/13
With so much musical information flowing through this piece, I'm finding it hard to B Natural. But seriously, I love your use of music as similes for life and its lessons. Great dialogue between your characters is a good teaching aid as well.
Virgil Youngblood 02/23/13
I like the title, and the use of a teachable moment reminds me to be more alert to those opportunities. Well done.
lynn gipson 02/23/13
Very nice. Well written with a wonderful message. God Bless.
C D Swanson 02/23/13
Different and very clever approach to the topic.
Nicely done. God bless~
Judith Gayle Smith02/23/13
Danielle King 02/24/13
This is a different approach to the topic and is written in such a captivating way. Maybe it's a mother thing, but I always cry when I'm decluttering my memory cupboards. I really enjoyed this well written piece.
Susan Montaperto02/24/13
Very realistically done. Quite a wealth of musical information. Thank you for the teachable moment for mothers and daughters everywhere.
God bless.
Myrna Noyes02/25/13
What an interesting, well-written story! I appreciate the quote from Christian Schubart (sp?), too, as it relates so well to the topic. I enjoyed listening in on Mom's "teachable moment" and loved that both mother and daughter were so touched by the words of the song. Great job! :)
Bea Edwards 02/25/13
Charming and interesting all wrapped up in this winsome piece. Well done!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/28/13
I really enjoyed the mother-daughter relationship. The scene that you set in the beginning drew me in. I found a special connection with your characters. I have no musical ability whatsoever, however, for the most part, I think I understood what you were saying. I like that you gave the key at the bottom to explain different things like the pound sign means sharp. I thought it was a sign for flat, but since I can't tell if a note is sharp or flat, to me it makes no difference. I wonder if instead of using the symbol if you had written it out if it might have made a difference for others. But that is just one tiny detail. The point of the story is the love between a mother and a daughter and that is what touches my heart.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/28/13
Congratulations on placing 6th in your level and for ranking 25 overall!