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Mountain Family: The joys of teasing a tweener

Scott Miller Mug
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Want to tease a tweener? Start singing standards to her.

Let’s get this clear right now: I want my 10-year-old daughter to learn to treat others with respect, and generally follow the Golden Rule ” do unto others as you would have them do unto you. But that doesn’t mean she’s immune from a little chain-yanking from time to time.

The other day, the usual train wreck of random thoughts ” people studying chaos theory would have a field day with my brain ” had me singing Cole Porter’s “I Get a Kick Out of You,” one of the best numbers in the “Great American Songbook,” that trove of songs composed by Porter, Jerome Kern, George Gershwin and others between, roughly, the 1920s and 1950s.



The arrangement that came quickest to the front of my brain was the Frank Sinatra arrangement (quick hint: when seeking the definitive versions of standards, pick the ones Sinatra did in the 1950s. Tony Bennett runs a distant second.).

Anyway, when I started singing “I get no kick from champagne,” you’d think I’d just put jumper cables on the kid’s big toes.



“Stop it, daddy,” she wailed. “That’s boring! It’s embarrassing!”

Now, in my child’s defense, Frank Sinatra was about as square as they came when I was 10 and The Who, Jimi Hendrix and Steppenwolf all had songs in the top 40 (so did Bobby Goldsboro and Andy Williams, and yes, I’m that old, but let’s move on).

In fact, it wasn’t until I hit my 30s I realized that yes, it’s Sinatra’s world and we just live in it ” which is still true, by the way.



So for a kid who’s idea of groundbreaking music is the latest from Miley Cyrus or the Jonas Brothers, singing about “flyin’ too high with some gal in the sky” has to be the most ridiculous thing ever.

Needless to say, I pressed my advantage. I’m the dad, after all.

“That’s really annoying!” she screamed.

“I know,” I giggled.

“And you’re still doing it?” she said.

“Yep.”

“Why?”

“Because it’s fun.”

This confused my child, and the day was mine.

But I also enjoy singing to my daughter. I sang old folk songs, standards, and made-up songs to her when she was a baby. She seemed to like it at the time. I still enjoy it now, although she’s usually appalled, even when no one else is listening.

To be fair, my daughter isn’t the only one in the house who’s occasionally baffled by my singing in the house. Right after seeing a TV news story about a man with a 900-pound pumpkin, I sang my wife large parts of “Call Any Vegetable” by Frank Zappa. The song includes yodeling the word “rutabaga” several times.

“That’s really a stupid song,” the Love of My Life sneered.

Sorry honey, it’s not close to the stupidest song I know, something Dear Darling Daughter is just now learning.

Scott Miller is the Business Editor for the Vail Daily. He can be reached at smiller@vaildaily.com.


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