My grade three class was taught by a nun. She was not a happy woman. Not by a long shot.
One of her duties was to get a choir organized for the school concert. She lined us up according to size and taught us the songs. And we sang our little hearts out. It was a lot better than writing out our phonics exercises, which is the only other thing I remember doing in grade three.
Every day, we'd get two or three classes together and practice the songs. It was so much fun.
One morning, during phonics class, she turned to me and asked, "How's you're singing going?"
"Fine," I said. And I believe the smile on my face spoke of the pure joy I had found in music.
"Are you sure?"
The whole class was looking at me now. I can feel the embarrassment burning in my cheeks as I write this.
"It's not fine," she told me. "You can't be in the choir. You're not good enough."
And then she went back to the lesson while I sat there, stunned.
After phonics came music class. And the song she decided we should sing was "If You're Happy and You Know It."
I wasn't, so I didn't clap or nod or spit.
Except that she stood there, right next to me, smiling and nodding in time to the music, murmuring that Jesus was very disappointed in my behaviour.