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About this Conversation

Little Cayman, poem by James Stone Goodman

Kim's blog on Neve Shalom

Joan Lipkin

Kim Mosley

Karaoke (mouseover)

Little Cayman, British West Indies
Friday, March 17, 2006

Dear Kim:

I love karaoke. It seems like one of the most democratic pastimes I can imagine. Anyone with sufficient nerve can sing into a microphone in front of an audience and live out their fantasies of being a rock star or a country western singer. At least for the length of a song.

Tonight was karaoke night at Beach Nuts, the tiny open air bar at the dive resort where we are staying.

At first, Paul, a young dive master who was doing double duty as the evening's DJ, spent over an hour begging and cajoling people to sing. He appealed to their sense of social duty and when that didn't work, bribed them with free shots. It probably comes as little surprise that the men, regardless of how they sounded, were much more willing to sing than the women. Perhaps it is their bravado, or perhaps an easier sense of play or different level of ego.

Laurel had gone to bed, tired after a day that included three deep sea dives.

I ran to the room. "You've gotta come out, for at least one song," I said.

I have to hand it to my sister. She was in her nightgown and got dressed.

“One song, Joanie. Just one song,” she said. “I’m really tired.”

I told her that would be ok, as long as the one song meant one that we would sing.


(Kim: You have such a great loving relationship with your sister...and you both compliment each other so nicely. Liberal and conservative...opposites.)

We poured through a vinyl bound book with hundreds of titles. To read the names of songs is to read a cultural history of more than four decades of popular Western music.

Funny that many people reject the idea of poetry as too highbrow but love and can retain the words to dozens of songs.

So Laurel and I bellied up to the bar and did our best to make our way through My Cherie Amour, by Stevie Wonder.

This will not be a crowd pleaser, I told her. For this crowd, we might do better to pick the Beastie Boys' You’ve got to Fight for the Right to Party or maybe Margaritaville by Jimmy Buffet.

But I didn’t care. I wanted to sing Stevie Wonder, not the Beastie Boys. So Stevie Wonder it was.

A few minutes later, when the resort manager was trying out his best Frank Sinatra, a 70ish business man from Rockford, Illinois who had been chatting with us, asked Laurel to dance.

To her credit, again, she said, yes.

I am not sure if she would have said yes so much before she got sick.

I watched her on the crowded dance floor, as this old school gent guided her under the stars by the small of her back and felt very happy. Very happy, indeed. And I was most happy that he had asked Laurel instead of me.