"I awoke this morning after having spent 14 hours in bed and without looking out of the window, the colour of the sky told me that summer had passed and that all sign of autumn would soon be here. Before I got out of bed and dressed myself I heard a most unfamiliar sound. Indeed, it was so rare these days that I cannot recall when I last heard such a noise in the morning air; it was a man in his fifties walking up the road past my bedroom window, singing to himself! I must confess that what surprised me the most wasn't his singing, but the fact of how out of tune he was and how little he cared.
My mind was instantly transported back to the days of my youth. Every morning as I walked down the stairs, I heard my mother singing her own special rendition of her favourite song, 'Far away places'. I say 'her own' as I've never heard a similar version in either word or note. Whatever the weather or her mood, she never failed to sing it out of tune and out of verse. Whenever I berated her for her inability to hold a tune, she would always reply with the same words: 'Everyone has the right to sing, Billy; even those who can't. The woods would be a silent place if no birds sang there except those who sang best!'
She was of course right in what she said and if only she was around now to sing her song, I'd gladly listen to her all day. She may not have been able to hold a tune, but she always had a song to sing. Her favourite singer was Vera Lynn; someone in later years who became a friend of mine and recently had her hundredth birthday.
When I think of it, my mother was indeed wise and her philosophy of life was so true. Why shouldn't you, me or anybody not do something in life because we are not the best at it? Why should anyone become reluctant to involve themselves in any test of life because they might fail? Believe me when I tell you that the world is made up of more 'also rans' than any number of winners. It is filled with beautiful people who may sing out of tune, but at least they display the courage to face life daily; at least they are unafraid to sing their song. As my dear wife Sheila said in her twitter feed this morning,'Well, Buddy, you survived Monday. Have a great Tuesday!' Love you, Mum. Miss you lots. Your son, Billy." William Forde: September 12th, 2017.