About four or five years ago, while attending a luncheon, I spent time chatting with a woman from Canada who was visiting Tobago. DB (her initials) was in her seventies, full of vigour, sparkling with an inner fountain of youth, a great conversationalist who engaged me with her captivating stories of love and life.
While discussing things we like to do, she mentioned her love of singing karaoke – something that I myself enjoy on occasion, for fun and laughs with the one or two of my friends who are not too shy to sing – even if not very good at it by musical standards.
I mentioned to DB that there is a charming, quirky little karaoke bar on the way to Pigeon Point – Wonky Windmill, next door to the Pasta Gallery. I offered to take her there and she excitedly accepted the invitation, eager to go that night, despite being expected to join her brother and friends for dinner.
On arrival at Wonky Windmill, we were pleased to note that we were the only patrons there. This meant that we could have the two microphones to ourselves, to sing to our hearts’ content, for as long as we wanted.
For about two hours, we laughed, chatted and sang, intermittently wetting our vocal cords with drinks. At times, DB would whip out her phone to take photos or videos of us singing, capturing special moments for her vacation memorabilia.
Sometimes we sang together, sometimes individually. DB favoured tunes by the likes of Dolly Parton (eg Jolene, one of her karaoke staples) and other classics, while I opted, as usual, mainly for 60’s, 70’s or 80’s songs and one of my karaoke favourite’s – Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody.
The latter, with its extreme vocal jumps from low to falsetto, and its twists and turns from soft to loud volume, is a vocal challenge that few wish to undertake...but, when attempted, the result can be a thrilling cacophony. Half the fun and laughter of karaoke occurs when vocals are not perfect.
By the time DB and I left the karaoke bar, we were like old friends. Thanks to Facebook, we have stayed in touch with each other over the years since then.
Having not communicated directly with DB for some time, I was pleasantly surprised a few days ago to find a long message from her in my inbox. She greeted me in her usual jovial, upbeat style, proceeded to express appreciation for our connection, then revealed to me that she is currently on a journey of "dealing with cancer."
Her mention of the diagnosis was not expressed with a note of sadness – rather, one of hope and resilience, befitting of a courageous warrior who is undaunted by the prospect of a battle. Her vibrant spirit shone through her words as she mentioned having started treatment; results were promising, showing healing and improvement. She was very clear that she intended to "beat" the cancer, confirming her conviction with a witty quip: “Life is a bowl of cherries and I intend to remove every pit!”
I am sharing these basic details of her current situation with her permission. Her attitude and spirit are inspiring, and could offer encouragement to someone out there, possibly reading this, who may be experiencing a personal life challenge – medical or otherwise.
In addition to the obvious medical "must do’s," her healing regime has included cutting out sugar, eating healthy organic foods, receiving healing energy treatment from friends who practise Reiki, swimming every day and enjoying time with the loved ones who are clearly there to support and encourage her on this leg of her "healing journey," as she describes it.
Upon reading her news, my first thought was “She will sing her way through this” – a thought to which she agreed when I expressed it to her.
When I offered to go to "our" karaoke bar and sing a song of her choice as a dedication to her, she requested All You Need Is Love by the Beatles...a fitting anthem.
The night after receiving DB's news I went to sing that song, accompanied by a friend who also likes karaoke. We video-recorded our rendition for me to send to DB.
As we were leaving the bar, my eyes fell on a sign on the wall, slightly obscured by driftwood.
"Love is all you need," it said, symbolically reciprocal...confirming the message that love sincerely sent out always boomerangs back.