Hymn sing

Here is a snippet of the event this weekend which inspired me to write a column on singing together. With my father's first cousin Roy visiting from California, I decided to host a gathering at my house for the rest of the cousins. Here is my brother Joe, bass, Dad, baritone, Aunt Ede, melody, and cousin Roy. Mom, not pictured, was on piano. Cousins Ilene and Marlene, Uncle Orville and Aunt Olla also sang.

Different people shouted out song numbers. It never failed that whatever hymn we sang brought to mind a story from Aunt Olla. This was the last song I heard my brother Johnny play on his banjo. This was the song we had at my father's funeral in 1918. This was the song we sung at my mother's funeral in 1969. This song was a favorite of my grandmother who, to the consternation of the Lutheran Bergesons, joined the Salvation Army back in Norway.

Olla's hearing aid was a constant problem. She pulled it out, and then it shreiked constantly until Cousin Marlene figured out how to shut it up. Olla couldn't hear it, so it didn't bother her at all, but it drove everybody else to distraction. Olla was in fine form until returning to the Fertile Hilton well after 10 p.m.

The sight of cameras sends Olla into conniptions. She doesn't like to have pictures taken unless she has a chance to primp and pose. When I started taking pictures at the dinner table, she complained that the lighting was unflattering. So I shut off the main light and dimmed the others. That was better, she said. It also made it impossible to take photos.

Joe and I did some singing, Dad played a little piano, and Cousin Roy played his eighth grade recital piece, a real barn-burner by Greig. He hadn't played it in years, but we all enjoyed it.