A Simple Gift

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Marianna was in the choir room. It had a few small practice rooms, beige walls, and a small office for the director. The floor was leveled into rows and filled with many chairs, in a set up found in most choir rooms. It was plain, maybe even dingy, but Marianna found it beautiful.

The director's name was Mrs. Riles. Whenever she got angry, the kids would say, “Don't get riled up!” Then she would laugh and forget why she was angry. She was nice and easy going like that. She was laid back enough to let the kids come in whenever they wanted. Which was why Marianna was in the room now. It was Marianna's study hall period, and good student that she was, she didn't really need it.

Mariannna was always looking for approval, especially from her mother. Her mother had been a vocal standout in this very room. There was a photo of her mother and her younger Uncle Jared in Mrs. Riles' office. Uncle Jared was a very funny person. He was the brave boy, the backbone of the bass part. Her mom was a first soprano. When she was fourteen, she was the perfect girl- popular, pretty, perfect grades. Marianna wanted to be like her, but she was quiet and didn't like talking to the other kids very much. Every day she would come into this room and sing instead.

There were cabinets and cabinets of sheet music. She felt like a gold miner, finding a bounty of priceless material. A piece of music fell from a folder. Simple Gifts was written in bold at the top. Marianna picked it up and looked through it. Written in 1848, it read. One hundred and sixty two years ago. It was...historic, timeless and, yes, simple. She was enchanted. She tucked the music into her Jonas Brothers binder, a treasure she wanted to keep hidden.

Two months later, Marianna went to her district vocal contest. She was nervous, but confident. She knew the song, its simplicity, its beauty. She held the dear music in her hands. She handed the music over to the judge, walked to the front of the room. Marianna's mother cried silently in the audience as she began to sing. They made eye contact. Marianna held back her tears until the song was over, and then ran over to her. She sat in her lap and her mother held her. They cried together. Marianna's mother pulled back for a moment.

“Honey, that was so beautiful. You are more than I have ever wanted you to be. I love every single aspect about you and I wouldn't change a thing. I'm so happy I had you, even though I was so young,” her mother said.

Marianna was surprised. She had never received a compliment like this in her life, but she knew it was true. She melted into her mother's arms.

“I hate to interrupt you two,” said the judge, after walking over to them. “But I'd like to give you this.”

It was a small gold medal. It read DISTRICT SOLO with the year 2010 written on the back.

Marianna was finally happy.





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OYA's mom said...
Nov. 4, 2010 at 10:03 pm
I liked Maria and I want to know more about her.
 
bgentry said...
Oct. 22, 2010 at 7:31 pm
Simple Gifts:  One of my favorite songs because its simplicity of words and music  touches the heart.  This story had the same simplicity that came from the heart of the author.  Thank you.
 
Sally said...
Oct. 8, 2010 at 8:39 pm
What a great story! I want to read more about Marianna.  Very well written and touching.
 
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