Written by David Vogel Tuesday, 15 March 2011 14:47
Choir tour always reminds me a little bit of a short story called “The Lottery,” which was written by Shirley Jackson and published in 1948.
“The Lottery” is about the folks in a small American town who gather annually to draw slips of paper to determine who gets to sleep on the concrete floor.
Of course, I’m just kidding.
In “The Lottery” the townspeople are randomly selecting the person who must be stoned to death. It’s choir tour where you might have to sleep on the cement.
This weekend the Tabor College Concert Choir will leave for its annual spring tour. This means that for more than a week we all will be subject to a lottery determining whether we spend the night at a house with a hot tub or at a house in which the guest shower drains at the rate of an IV drip.
I’m proceeding into this column cautiously, because when you poke fun at someone’s hospitality, there’s a chance they might poke fun back at you.
Last year, for instance, I wrote a column about the choir’s trip to Minnesota in which I constantly made impolite references to towns named after lakes.
I’ll bet you didn’t know it was even possible to make impolite references about towns named after lakes.
But apparently it is, and one overachieving Minnesotan—whom I am distantly related to, by the way—happened to find that column on the Internet and left this comment:
“One suspects that arrangements to host the Tabor choir on its 2011 tour will involve 24 homes (for two choir members each) and one pup tent for the unappreciative 49th.”
Guess who the 49th is.
So let it be stated here—before I go any further—that I truly, honestly, sincerely, frankly, affectionately, genuinely, candidly, warmly, earnestly, from-the-bottom-of-my-heart-ly and admiringly appreciate every single person who has ever opened his or her home to me and allowed me to dine with them and leave my wet towels on their floors during my tenure as a Tabor College choir member. Even if they did have real swords dangling above my bed.
Yes, you read that correctly.
One night I had the opportunity to stay with a very nice older couple who let me have a room all to myself in their basement. It was an unfinished basement and between the ceiling beams, right above the bed, hung a modest collection of antique swords.
Needless to say, I slept very carefully that night and prayed that there wouldn’t be an earthquake.
This is mild, however, to other assorted experiences, such as the time I slept on an air mattress on a cold, cement basement floor, which meant I woke up halfway through the night shivering so hard I thought my dental records back in Hillsboro were going to shatter.
In this guy’s defense, his wife must have been out of town, because for breakfast five of us shared a half-full box of Cheerios.
I should be careful telling stories like that, though, because it might come across as unappreciative. On the contrary, choir tours have actually introduced me to people whose generosity I will likely remember for the rest of my life.
One such example is a sweet old lady who not only provided us guys with more ice cream than would feed the entire U.S. Olympics team, but was also kind enough to mail a package back to Tabor containing a pair of underwear that one of us—it wasn’t me—had left behind.
There are also the grandmotherly ladies who have beautiful snack spreads waiting back at their houses, the homes of little kids who ask us thousands of questions per minute, and the countless families in California who sent us on our way with more grapefruit than anyone should ever care to eat.
Going on choir tours is a lottery, but more often than not you’ll win a welcoming family who is looking forward to your visit.
But just in case, if you get to a house with a box full of paper slips and a pile of rocks…. Well, don’t mention my name.