This article is not about something to do or see on the Island. I have no secret places to recommend, no hot spots that are ‘the place to be this week’. It is concerning a moment of crazy, random happenstance, an act of kindness from unseen strangers.
We are still in the experimental stages of crib to ‘big girl bed’ transfer with my daughter, Katerina, which means that every bedtime is a unique array of settling-down rituals. Like a sunset, no two bedtimes are alike. There are nights that she tumbles like a sack of potatoes into the bed and passes out instantly; and somewhere the attempts to get her to sleep rapidly approach ‘rigmarole’ levels: all singing, all dancing entertainment to no avail.
Sunday night, August 16th was such a night, with a dose of teething crabbies thrown in, just so I didn’t get too bored, apparently. She rolled and flopped, cried and called for momma, ignored my singing of ‘You are my Sunshine’ (which was, if I may say, not too shabby!) and finally ended up knocking herself in the head against the rail o’ protection.
I bit back what would be a useless ‘I told you so’ and scooped her up to soothe her. The shrieks drew momma back into the room and my wife and I BOTH sang to her while they sat in a chair near the window.
Then, from the street below, we heard voices.
We always hear people coming and going through the Edgartown downtown from our second floor window. Many times, it’s drunken revelers, or bands of running teens after a movie lets out, sometimes just the talk of folk passing by the windows of shops below.
This was different. A group of women was singing on the porch below us. Four or possibly five voices were singing ‘You are my Sunshine’. In harmony, even! I assume they heard the wailing of an anguished toddler and our desperate singing and were inspired.
My wife opened the window to listen to the song and my Little Fusspot, with a wide-eyed smile poked her face against the window frame and looked to the sidewalk. We could not see the chorus due to the awning below, but she still turned back to us and pointed. “Happys singing down there,” she said several times. During the rest of the song we could hear Katerina chuckling out the window. She called out a ‘Thank you’ or two, but I don’t think they heard us. A taxi appeared and they were gone. It calmed Kate right back into her bed and a sound sleep, tears forgotten and it was all we talked about the next day.
Anyone who lives and works on the Island during ‘the Season’ can tell you tales of woe and indignation, frustration and apathy. In the hotel industry, I interact with folk at all points on the mood spectrum. That evening was such a surprise to my wife and I that we still smile to think of it. It was, in a word, LOVELY!
TO: The Musical Ladies of Winter Street: Our hearty thanks for a wonderful and helpful surprise. You made it a very special bedtime for our Miss Crabby-Pants.
Image courtesy of Tina Keller