the tintinnabulation of the bells

Page One hundred thirteen

thursday 16 december 2010…     turnered

 
Two things I once loved:  Poe’s poem The Bells; and the Ukrainian Carol of the Bells                         
Another thing I loved:  bells
And a fourth:  my lovebird Tuuschi
 
We listened every holiday season to Poe’s poem set to various melodies by various musicians. We listened to various choirs singing the Ukrainian carol. We listened, and I sang, and Tuushi, along with the other birds, chirped away.
 
When I was a little girl, back in the stone age, every year at Christmastime, Ed Sullivan would have bell-ringers on his show. Musical handbells. I was enchanted by these bells, how each one was a different note, how co-ordinated with each other the ringers had to be, etc. But after the Sullivan show was gone, the only time I ever heard handbells again was a rare performance on Public Radio at the holidays.
 
So there we are in 2007, my animals and I. Catalogs are coming in the mail, it is the fall, Shirley Temple is my new case manager at the DMH, and I believe in her (oh fool). I have already bought the harp and the tin whistle from these catalogs, and then I buy something I’m not even sure what to call: eight pipes lying on a wooden rack, tuned pentatonically, and you play them with mallets. I buy it. But right before that one, there are the BELLS. Eight bells, one octave, each in a horrendously bright color, meant as a children’s toy. But they are the only damned handbells I’ve seen since I was a kid, so I buy them. “The jingling and the tinkling of the bells…”
 
Why was I buying all these instruments? Because another thing I loved was fooling around with instruments, even though I don’t play well. And because, when Shirley Temple found us a place to go, I would have fun with these things, and with at least SOME of my animals. And because, if Shirley failed (which I didn’t really believe in), I would play some music for my animals before we were destroyed.
 
You can’t play much on one octave with no sharps and flats, but I mastered Joy to the World, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star (music by Mozart), and a couple of other things on the bells.
 
Tuuschi, the effervescent, crippled-from-birth lovebird, had a copper bell of his own in his cage. And when the handbells arrived and were played, he decided that these were quite the thing, and, as animals often do, he made up a game and taught it to me. He started ringing his own bell every time I STOPPED playing mine. After a few times of this, I said: What do you want? Another bell? So I went and got a bell, rang it in front of his cage, saying: this is an A, and it’s turquoise.
 
Every single day he had to have a bell. He would ring his little copper one incessantly until I brought him a colored bell. I always told him the note and the color, and he would gaze at those bells with sheer rapture on his face, not moving a muscle until I stopped ringing.
 
Another thing that often happens:  you have your OWN reason for doing something, but after you’ve done it, a different, more meaningful reason appears that you didn’t even know about. I didn’t buy those bells for ME. I bought them for Tuuschi. And we never had a Christmas again. Hell, we never even had another St. Patrick’s day. Valentine’s Day 2008 was the last holiday we ever had.
 
How did Tuuschi end after he was stolen from me? I was told that the unholy priest adopted him out to someone here in town, but I was never told to whom, and I was never allowed to visit him, and I’ve never been told when and where he died. May the ocean’s dogs devour them all: Shirley Temple, the unholy priest, the adopters, and everyone in town who knows about my bird and will not tell me. Christians all. Damnable, lying, sneaking followers of christ.
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all photos, graphics, poems and text copyright 2009-2012 by anne nakis, unless otherwise stated. all rights reserved.

 
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