Saturday, January 08, 2005

The case of the waiting whistle 

Poodlepums says I should blog about "the tin whistle joke," so here goes:

Last summer, I bought her the book Song by Song by Aubrey Atwater. It's written for guitar, dulcimer, banjo, tin whistle and/or voice, but Poodles has been quite adept at translating that to violin. Anyway, in one of the text portions it reads: "a squeak or unclear sound means you are breathing too hard or too softly or you are not completely covering the hole.* This is the part that especially takes time and practice...and the reason whistles have been tossed through unopen windows!" Poodlepums found this terribly amusing, and made it a point to mention it on multiple occasions. I retaliated by threatening to buy her a tin whistle. He reaction to this suggestion was quite dramatic, so I continued to find opportunities to repeat my threat. Anyway, the birthday/holiday season came upon us and the whistle joke took on a more concrete form as Poodles birthday neared. I promised her that I would not buy her a tin whistle for her birthday. She ignored the subtle joke and accused me of scheming to purchase said tooter for her natal anniversary. Anyway, the grand day arrived and I proved my integrity by not giving her a tin whistle.

So now the joke switched to Christmas. I sweetened the pot by threatening to send her to Rhode Island to receive tin whistle instruction from Ms. Atwater. Now I had no real inclination to actually buy the child a tin whistle, at least at first. I mean, we already have a couple of recorders which the children can and do play if they want to play a song with a nice, woodwind kind of sound. However, as Christmas drew nearer, my inclination started to change. Top Ten Toys carried an inexpensive model and I was starting to think that it would be worth the price to cap the running gag. Of course, simply presenting the whistle at Christmas, or later on Bunnah's birthday, just wouldn't do. I toyed with the idea of waiting for Valentine's Day and hiding it with the candy. Anyway, on December 23rd I had to run out to a nice little toy store in Issaquah, White Horse Toys, in order to get a last minute replacement gift. (The mail order company let us down.) While there, I also browsed for a birthday present for Bunnah and found out that they also carried an inexpensive tin whistle. I caved in and bought the item, sneaking it into the house after the children were asleep.

Chirstmas came and passed and the joke started to loose steam. I started to think that waiting until February might not work so well. Then, a few days before Epiphany and the removal of the tree, the solution hit me. Without telling a soul, I slipped the tin whistle under the tree stand, where it was hidden from view by the tree skirt. On January 6th, Noodles and the kids started de-decorating the house. I parked myself in the dining room and busied myself by updating the Christmas card list. After removing and packaging up the ornaments, the garland and the lights. Noodles took away the tree skirt and folded it up. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see the ever vigilant Bunnah staring at the base of the tree. After a minute, she pointed and asked, "What's that?" Noodles picked up the whistle, and held it out for Poodlepums to see. Poodles had a delayed reaction (she first thought that part of the stand had broken off) but soon squealed with mock indignation. A satisfying sound that marked the end of the Christmas giving season.

*I can personally attest that this is true! [footnote not in original text. I added this. I know, I can't even shut up long enough to quote somebody else. I feel so bad.]