The Recorder

Standing on a wood chip covered playground. It’s 34 degrees. The sweater and jacket barely maintain the little heat that my body has managed to produce. I pull my head down into my shoulders in the way that a turtle retracts. Hands are shoved in my pockets so they don’t go numb. Three kids run by light blue recorders in their hand. Moments later the shrill sound of recorders being blown. The discordant noises that are emanating from this trio are producing must be a song of their own creation. And I wonder, why do they always teach us the recorder.

I had to learn recorder at that age too and it probably sounded the same. The only thing I remember from the days of learning recorder is playing hot cross buns. Three notes repeated in varying ways. The next easiest song to the one note song. Who cares what song they are playing. Blowing into this blue plastic thing and having it make a shrill sound is amusing enough. As a child it is fun. When you’re an adult it is slightly annoying.

I remember going to perform at a “concert” for the recorder. Along with 100 other kids in my age range. Whoever thought putting 100 kids together to play the recorder must have been crazy, or tone-deaf. I don’t remember if I actually played as everyone else did or if I just pretended. But I do remember sitting high up in aisle walkway of an outdoor amphitheater and eating cookies in the shape of the Keebler elves. I haven’t touched a recorder since.

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