MAMA BLEW HER BRAINS OUT – Guest column by Salvatore Spano

Street Jazz“I worked hard all day and now I am so tired.  These kids keep me busy all day long.  ‘Mama do this, mama where’s my socks, mama what’s to eat?’  You would think they are helpless.  They all are old enough to feed themselves and clean up around here.  Andy is the oldest–he’s 22–and the other are in their late teens.  But no, save it for mama to do,” Bertha quietly said to herself.

“Andy’s room is finally cleaned and the bed is made.  His clarinet is just laying there where he left it on his dresser yesterday.  Let me put it away.”

“I think I will just sit a second on the bed and rest a while.  I’ll dig out his case from under the bed in just a second.  Oh, I wonder if I could make like a jazz musician.  I’ve watched Andy play this thing for eleven years.  I must have learned something?”  Just thinking out loud.

“Okay, wet the reed with your tongue.  Let’s see, put three fingers of the left hand on the three top holes.  Put three fingers of the right hand on the lower three holes, and the index finger on the little thingy on the bottom.  Now blow like you know what’s happening.”

“So I huffed and I puffed and, ouch! That screeching hurt my ears.  Well, I’ll just keep blowing until I hear a clear note.  Oh my, I’m out of breath and that screeching is giving me a headache.  I thought after listening to Andy for eleven years I could have made some good noises.”

“Let me look at myself in the mirror and try again,” she said as she poised herself in the center of it.  “Now let me blow like a jazz musician,” she said to the image in the mirror.  “My hands and mouth look good, I’ll just blow a little harder. Now I’ll close my eyes and pretend the sounds coming out are melodious.”

“Oh nuts, just as I’m about to really get into it, somebody is coming,” she whispered under her breath.

“Mama, what are you doing in my room?” Andy said as he stood in the doorway.  “And what are you doing with my clarinet?” he said with a smirk.

:I was just putting it away,” she said sheepishly as she reached for the case.

“Mama,” Andy said with a big grin and holding back laughing out loud.  “What was that loud screeching I heard coming up the driveway?”

She retorted sarcastically, “I was just trying to commit suicide by blowing my brains out.”

With that they both could no longer hold back their laughter.

Andy moved over to the bed and bent over her, and gave her a big hug.  “Oh mama, don’t worry, I will not tell anyone,” he said softly, breaking through the laughter.  “I love you!  You are the greatest.”


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