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  • Writer's pictureTina

Handbells, Great Friends, and Grand Disillusions

This weekend, my friend Jenna helped me realize one of my fifty fun things for my fiftieth year. Jenna surprised me with a gift of handbells! You see, dear reader, I have no musical talent. None. Zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada. I tried out for the school choir in fourth grade. I believe I was the only child not to make the elementary school choir that year, perhaps in the whole history of McCreery Elementary School. When my nephew was two, I sat on the porch swing with him and began singing The Itsy Bitsy Spider. Mackenzie covered my mouth with his dirty little toddler hands and said, “No sing, NaNa. No sing.” Sigh. My singing voice has been compared to bellering cows and dying animals. One bib-overall-wearing musical talent once said I could mangle even a Justin Bieber song. Whom, The Bibbed Wonder believes is a musical joke.

Over the years, I have made futile attempts at musical success. I took violin lessons beginning in fourth grade. I wasn’t awful at the violin; maybe a few kids were worse than me, but a musical prodigy I was not. Looking back, I should have committed to the violin lessons and forgotten about cheerleading. At least I could still be playing the violin today and not have a cracked tailbone that flairs up once in a while. I have considered piano lessons, but that seems like a huge commitment, and learning to read music feels overly complicated at the ripe old age of fifty. No, I think color-coded music scores with color-coded handbells are more my style at this point.

Jenna came to visit us on Saturday. The Bean and I dazzled her with an impromptu handbell concert. The Bean and I practiced our handbell duet several times before we got it right. My bean is a genuine musical talent. She can play any song she hears by ear on the piano. I would kill for such a talent. However, The Bean has no interest in furthering this talent. My talented kid took her piano music and played more complicated songs with my handbells, using the notes alone as guidance. She tried to teach me how to read music and transfer piano music to the bells, but I prefer the little kid version of reading colored dots.

Jenna laughed her hilarious Jenna laugh and said she never thought handbells would bring so much happiness to our family. I must admit, we do enjoy playing Christmas songs with the bells. Not all of us can be open and honest about the happiness the bells bring. One bib overall-wearing curmudgeon asked me if I thought he did something to make Jenna angry. I was confused by this question and replied, “No, why would you ask that?” As The Bean rang away in the living room, he said, “Don’t you hear what I hear? I must have really pissed her off!” Sigh.

He grumbled about the noise, but I went to bed at eight o’clock after a busy day at the holiday market on Saturday and was serenaded off to sleep with Eric, Jenna, and Jordan playing the bells. I entered dreamland on notes of holiday songs and a chorus of giggling. They mastered the song La Cucaracha or as one blue-eyed thirteen-year-old elf pronounces it, “La Liberace!” They planned to come up the stairs singing and playing the bells at the loudest volume possible. Thankfully, they were afraid of me and thought better of such rude behavior. My reign as a tyrannical dictator is strong.

I am trying to convince my tribe to join me on a caroling outing. How fun would it be to walk around playing the bells and singing? I obviously wouldn’t sing, but I’d be happy to play the bells with my little book of colored dots and color-coded bells. Thus far, no one is jumping on board with my AMAZING idea. Adding Christmas caroling to my list of fifty fun things is imminent. I may be reduced to threats of violence and loud whining to make it happen, but happen it shall. I can’t allow my success with children’s handbells to go unnoticed. That would be an absolute waste of like fifteen minutes of practice. It’s all about the small victories, dear reader.

I am considering taking my newfound talent to the next level and joining a handbell choir. There are a few kinks to work out, like learning to read music…unless all handbell choirs use color coding…how awesome would that be? I also need to find a handbell choir. This will probably require that I start regularly attending a church with a handbell choir. I’m pretty sure God frowns upon the handbell choir being the deal breaker of what church I join. You see, it’s just a few minor details that have to be worked out.

Minus the grand disillusions, I am having a lot of fun learning to play the handbells. If nothing else, The Bean and I will dazzle The Bibbed Wonder and Grambarb with our handbell ringing on Christmas Eve. Oh, perhaps I will take my handbell playing to the parking lots of big box stores and play for weary holiday shoppers! Side note that amazingly talented woman who plays the violin in parking lots that I wrote about has been declared a fraud. Sigh. I award her an Oscar. In my gullible and untrained eye and ear, she seemed legit. Regardless, the music was beautiful, and it was a pleasant surprise. Imagine, I could be the legit version, only playing the handbells designed for children. So much fun to be had! The possibilities are endless.

A big fat thank you goes to my dear friend, Jenna, for making my handbell dream come true. My world is filled with the best people. Not only do they help me realize my silly dreams, but they jump on board and enjoy the ride with me. Now, to make that handbell caroling plan a reality. I have my work cut out for me. As always, dear reader, stay safe, be smart, have fun, realize your silliest dreams, be grateful for the people who “get” you and keep washing your hands.

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I think caroling is an Excellent idea! I think you should have a Saturday afternoon in December caroling/bell ringing party and invite us all to join in the fun!!!

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