Romance Weekend Approacheth!!!

This weekend will be "Romance Weekend" at the Sterling Renaissance Festival" .

Harry & I, as Merry Mischief, have been the "Wedding Minstrels" for many years there, bringing music to both wedding ceremonies and also minstreling hundreds of married couples to the Chapel for the Ceremony of Renewals. It has been a pleasure and an honor to do this.

So on this occasion of Romance and Courtship.....

Today's tale is a story of TRUE LOVE :)

We have a couple of friends, Anita & Rick Figgins, whom we met about 4 or 5 years ago when we performed music for their wedding ceremony at the Sterling Renaissance Faire..

It was one of the sweetest and most loving services that Harry and I have ever participated in.

What makes their love story unique is this:

You see, Rick is profoundly deaf.

Their ceremony was beautiful as there was a lot of "signing" in it as well as the regular love and hugs and kisses and sweet words....

I am familiar with some of ASL (American Sign Language). My daughter Shawna couldn't speak much during her formative years, and so, we adopted the trend of "Total Communication" (using sign combined with speech) and gave her a way of communicating with us.
Later on, as her speech developed, we dropped the signing. Oh, she still "approximates" and you have to know "Shawna-ease" but the signing really helped a lot.

And so it was that I was familiar with some of what was said at Rick and Anita's wedding.
It was beautiful beyond compare. Both the Bride & the Groom did I.
It was a small ceremony but the feelings couldn't be bigger.

Throughout the years, Anita and Rick have become very dear friends of ours. Rick is a hard worker and will roadie for Merry Mischief with a fun attitude, a strong back and an industrious heart. Anita gives with her heart and soul and bakes like crazy and fills our bellies and taste buds with delights from her wondrous large wicker basket of goodies that she brings to faire! It is filled with pecan tarts, berry bars, No Bake cookies and many other amazing things! She loves her horses and animals.
They are GIVERS.

They give of their Time, their Talents, and their Attitudes.

Even tho' Anita has had problems with her back surgeries, she comes faithfully with her sweet daughter, Mikaela and sometimes their doggy, "Tater" and Anita has sat through our shows,
happily listening, tho' all the while in pain. She is doing better now. She is a trooper.

And "Tater" is so cute in his Kilt, don't you think? Here he is with me at Olcott- Niagara Heritage Celtic Festival.... He dressed for the occasion :)
Over time, Rick has gotten hearing aids to help with his hearing. His hearing range is very limited to say the least.

You would really not know to talk to him, that he can't hear you, as he is an AMAZING reader of lips!
He is phenomenal!!

And do you know what else?


I would think that someone without hearing wouldn't be able to appreciate the joys of music, but then again....

Ludwig van Beethoven was deaf.

Beethoven's hearing began to deteriorate later in life, but he went on to write and compose music even when he was totally deaf!

Rick has asked me in the past, to send him lyrics to some of his favorite songs. "Wild Mountain Thyme" and "The Black Fox". I did so, happily.

One day at the ren faire, I was playing "Wild Mountain Thyme" and I saw Rick signing along to it in the back row. Well, I stopped the song and motioned for him to join me. Evidently, Rick wants to be a singer! :)
He "signed" along "singing" to our music. It was lovely.
There were many teary eyes watching him "Sing" (sign :) to this beautiful love song.
I had to look at him directly, and not to the audience, as he was reading my lips for the words and cadence of the song. It was hard for me to not tear up during this first experience to this addition of visual love to this song.


Last weekend it happened again :)

I started playing his "standing request" to play "The Black Fox".
It is a traditional song with a driving rhythm and some piercing deep harmonies. Evidently, some of the notes are able to drive through Rick's substantial hearing loss and give him some drones and sounds that he can hear.He LOVES this song.

I IMMEDIATELY called Rick up to sign along with us. It was fabulous!

Rick has great timing, and he was able to keep up with the quick paced song, and his hands were flying! He also gave the song some panache and beauty by "drawing out some of the signs" as we drew out and held notes.

Afterwards, I asked him to show the audience some of the signs in the song we sang....Signs for the "Devil" and for "Fox" and it was amusing to be able to share this language with its humor and it's beauty.

In talking to Anita later on, I had to laugh.....

Evidently, Rick, of course, likes to blast his music in the car.
(think about it :)

Anita said "You can hear him coming a mile away." :)

It is amusing and also terrifying to see him "singing" along to music....with his hands flying!

His hands are definitely NOT on the wheel when he sings :)

So this Romance Weekend, I salute Anita and Rick Figgins.

Two lovers who prove that love and music ......can overcome ANY odds.

"If music be the food of love.....PLAY ON" :)


InGothWeTruss said...

ahh Merlyn, another one of your tomes that made me cry. What a beautiful story!! HUZZAH to Anita & Rick!! And you as well!

Anonymous said...

Such an amazing gift from all of you. Thank you for sharing.