Saturday, September 5, 2009

"Surrey with the Fringe on Top"

One of my father’s favorite concert songs was “Surrey with the Fringe on Top.”  If there was a willing little girl in the audience, he would call her up on stage to sit beside him as if in an open carriage, while he sang the song to her. If I was in the audience, that little girl was me.

 “May I have a couple of chairs, please,” he’d call to the stage manager.

 “I’d like to sing you one of my favorite songs from Oklahoma. But I need some one to sing it to. How about that pretty little redhead in the front row.”

 My heart would be pounding. I was sure I’d trip getting up to the stage. Oh!  Did my hair look all right? Was my dress wrinkled?  My socks pulled up?

 “Come on up here, little girl,” he'd coax. “What's your name?”

 “Margo? Margo what?—Yes, folks, this is my daughter,” he’d say, beaming proudly.

 I think he might have been almost as nervous as I was. But I knew my cues. I sat beside him, and at the moment when he sings, “I can feel the day getting older, feel a sleepy head on my shoulder,” I would do just that and close my eyes, feigning sleep, while he finished the song.

 This scenario was re-enacted over a period of several years, between the time I was old enough to be trusted on stage (about age six) until I got too embarrassed to do it (probably three or four years later). My mother and I traveled frequently with my father during those years when concerts were his primary focus.   

No comments:

Post a Comment