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Wednesday, April 27, 2011


"The rain in Spain stays Mainly on the plain."

I wonder how many times I've recreated myself. Plenty. But I've resolved to do it one more time - with elocution lessons. I don't expect to become the speaking equivalent of Jim Nabors' operatic voice; I'd be satisfied to sound just a little better than his Gomer Pyle character. I remember having heard Nabor's explanation that his father told him, on going away to school, something like "Don't come home talking funny." Whether that's a legitimate memory or not, it's our decision what strengths to exercise in various situations.

"Gomer Pyle" spoke clearly and could be understood. That's my goal. When traveling with a group, if I introduce Mike, Europeans greet him as Mack. When I went to graduate school in Nashville, Tennessee, with students in the small school (Scarritt College for Christian Workers) from all over the nation and world, I wrote home the first week, "Everybody talks weird but me." Then my drama coach had a woman from Pennsylvania read my lines for a play with the intention that I listen and emulate them. In that same small college, we all knew each other well, but when a stranger sat down with us, we went around the circle for introductions. I knew the regulars were laying in wait for me to say, "I'm Baaarbaaaraaa Breeeeeedluv from Quaaaaannnaaaahhh, Texas." The a's got longer every time I said them.

So, I'm taking elocution lessons. And meanwhile, I'm ready, willing, and able to speaking anywhere in the world for the price of the trip and the right to sell books. Let's hope I learn the elocution lessons quickly, though.

But not before I can easily speak effectively, practice, practice, practice."The Rain in Spain Stays mainly on the plane."

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