My family tells me that they can identify me in a crowd of thousands. Your voice carries, Mom, is the nicest way they let me know that they heard my conversation with the cashier half way across the store. That comment is often accompanied by rolling eyes and shrugging shoulders. After all, what can you do about a mother who is loud?
In the late 1970's, TBG and Orb Kcrob and Belly and I went to Grant Park for the 4th of July concert and fireworks. We were meeting other friends, friends who were always late. Our big pink sheet was on the ground, our balloons floating above it. Unfortunately for us, every other large group had the same idea; the ground was littered with colorful, easy to identify, blankets and the air was swimming with balloons. There was no way our friends would ever find us.
(No, Millenials, we couldn't use our cell phones or send a GPS link to a device. Those things had not yet been invented.)
After finishing the first bottle of wine, we began to search the crowd in earnest. It was fruitless. I decided to take matters into my own hands. I'd go up to the guy at the microphone on stage and ask him to make an announcement asking our friends to meet me at the stage. As I left the blanket, TBG wondered, idly, if I'd remember where they were so that I could return safely.
Blithely, I assured him that I was fine, and off I went. Once at the stage, I realized that I was not the only one with lost companions, that others had tried to have similar announcements made, and that unless we were looking for lost children, we were out of luck. Our friends would have to find us on their own.
Sadly, I turned back to the crowd and came to the startling realization that I had no idea where I'd left my husband. Somewhere dead center, I discovered, was no real help when the crowd numbered close to one million.
I began to walk. It was hot. I was lost. I was lonely. I was frustrated.
By the time I'd tripped over the same people for the third time I had had enough. Warning those nearby to cover their ears, I cupped my hands around my mouth and yelled for TBG, aiming my shout in the general direction of where I thought I'd left my blanket.
Over the heads of thousands, my sweetie, standing and looking for me by this time, heard my dulcet screech and pointed his outstretched arm in my direction. I was in an entirely incorrect section of the park, having lost my way entirely, but my distinctive voice saved the day.
No one else could have found us by her voice alone was the consensus once I returned to the warm embrace of my friends. I smiled, somewhat sheepishly, and opened the second bottle of wine.
This all came back to me today while I was shopping in Clique, my favorite store in Tucson. I recognized your voice said a friend-of-a-friend we'd met years ago. We exchanged phone numbers and made plans for December and I left with a new blouse, a renewed connection, and another check mark in the box of You have a distinctive voice, Mom.
Sometimes, that's a good thing.