Thursday, May 6, 2010

Fred Penner

Emil with two of his favourite women.

Donna and her daughter have both worked with Emil at the high school as aides, and today they were out cruising and stopped in. They stayed for about an hour and Emil still hasn't stopped vibrating.

During the course of the conversation I was reminded how careful I have to be when I speak to Emil. Of course I'm already aware that I mustn't say anything I wouldn't want repeated — word for word — but today was an example of why I have to think twice about figures of speech and colloquialisms and such, too.

Donna and her husband took Emil to a Brooks and Dunn concert in Saskatoon a couple years ago and, music lover that he is, Emil mentioned that the duo is performing in the city again tonight and he'd sure like to go but alas, has no tickets. He went on to talk to the ladies about James Taylor and Fred Penner, the children's entertainer, adding vehemently "If you don't like Fred Penner there's something wrong with you!"

Naturally I had to say that everyone has different taste in music so there's not something "wrong" with you if someone's music isn't up your alley.

"Yes there is, Mom! You said 'There's something wrong with anyone who doesn't like Fred Penner!' "

But - but - but - I didn't mean it literally ... try explaining that to Emil! I'm not sure he gets it. Now I remember that conversation though. Maybe I was right in the first place. Maybe there IS something wrong with you if you don't like Fred. I mean, what's not to like?

Click here and put your cursor on Fred there, in the middle. He'll sing you a tune.

Fred was playing and singing for kids and their parents when my boys were small. Now that they're 17 and 21, Fred has been touring the country and playing in university bars. In a radio interview he said these university students were all kidlets back in the day, and when he plays the bars they know all the words and sing along and it's a wild fun time. I believe it. What's not to love about these songs? And imagine a bunch of inebriated twenty-somethings who can sing along. How often do you find that nowadays? I mean, that people actually know the words to songs and can join in and enjoy themselves.

Fred Penner saved my skin on many a road trip with Emil and Everett. Between him and Sharon, Lois and Bram, all I had to do when a kid got fussy in his car seat was plunk in a cassette tape and voila, instant contentment from the back seat. Sweet relief in the front. It even worked if I had no cassette handy; I'd heard the songs enough to know them myself, so I'd just have to start singing. Every parent needs a tool like that one in her brat-busting kit.