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Everyone's A Critic - Even the Cat

One day back in the early 1970s, when tape recording was a new adventure for me, I got the idea to record a cassette tape for my daughter in California.

It would consist of song and harmonica, accompanied by guitar - my own orchestra.

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I understood my limitations in the music world, but I had amused a select number of people who were unconcerned with the accomplished.

In my early years, I accompanied my dad while he played for old-time dances. He was a violinist, but a good fiddler, too. The climate then called for music embracing the feelings of the times.

As years passed, I laid my instruments aside and took them out only for cleaning. Then they were returned to the closet to collect more dust. With no motivation, inspiration was nil.

I had no holder for my harmonica, so I contrived my own invention consisting of styrofoam and freezer tape. I carved a hole in the foam for the mouth harp and taped it to the counter edge. When I sat on a footstool, my mouth fit perfectly on the harp.

I practiced a few tunes, then settled down to business with the tape recorder. I played and played, tapping my foot in perfect rhythm while I strummed the guitar. I was thoroughly enjoying my own entertainment.

Finally, I felt ready to go to the next step and decided to do some singing and yodeling; I used to do a fair job. I began with an appropriate song that would end with a yodel.

I started out somewhat mildly, then enthusiastically my voice carried upward as I ascended the scale, and with a boisterous outbreak of song, I forced my vocal cords to the highest pitch they could muster.

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At the same time I glanced at my cat, who had been napping in the chair in the corner of the room.

She was standing with her back arched in fear, prepared to spring on whatever was threatening; her eyes were wide with terror and her ears were pinned back as far as they could go. She was scared out of her wits. The picture was hilarious.

After the tumult, I put my instruments back into the closet. The lesson was loud and clear. If the effect on my cat was so startling, how atrocious I must sound to my friends. Could I keep torturing them with my loud noise, especially my dear daughter?

No, I would keep this episode - this laughable image of my poor house pet - uppermost in my mind forever and never again force my unmelodious racket on man or beast.

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