One of our town’s more colorful and entertainin’ citizens was a man by the name of Vincent Treadwell Jamison, who used to give a speech every summer, usually in August to tell us his thoughts about life, politics and our territory at large. He was a kind of politician, even though no one remembers electin’ him to be the representative of the people. Anyway, Mr. Jamison, or Figaro, which was what the folks in town called him on account of his love for the opera, never missed a chance of tellin’ us about his beloved music in his speeches.
Accordin’ to my momma, who heard every speech Figaro ever made, he always encouraged the people of our town to listen to opera. He usually heralded the soon to come arrival of some famous Italian opera singer, what would be passin’ through our area in the fall. For all the years momma lived in our town, she never did hear about any Italian opera singer comin’ to visit, but that didn’t seem to matter to Figaro, who with great joy, liked to tell everyone about the upcomin’ event each year.
Some of the people what knowd him best, said that he corresponded regularly with a famous Italian opera singer and that the maestro would always agree to stop over on his trip to San Francisco, where he was booked to a lengthy engagement. This went on for years, until one fateful August, when Figaro neglected to mention opera in his speech.
It wasn’t that anyone was too particularly interested in the opera for their everyday lives, it was more about how everyone had become accustomed to hearin’ about it from him. Why, some even became quite interested in listenin’ to him describe the different arias, which he’d done with great gusto on past occasions, what momma made a point of explainin’ what they was to me, in case Figaro did it again that year.
I weren’t sure what to expect on that particular August day, when poor ole Figaro delivered his lifeless speech, which instead of bein’ almost two hours long, lasted only a little more than half an hour.
People began to mumble after such a short speech, ‘specially since they’d all been lookin’ forward to spendin’ a good chunk of the afternoon listenin’ to him. Now most of the folks that was assembled there had nothin’ in particular to do, which I’m sure was more than a little frustratin’ for the ones that had come a good distance to hear our great orator.
Well lo and behold, out of the crowd came this woman who went up to where Figaro had been givin’ his speech, which was nothin’ more than a raised spot on the land, where he could stand over the seated folks. This young lady stood tall and without lookin’ at anyone in particular, began to sing in a voice that sounded like it came straight from heaven.
Figaro had walked off a few paces and looked like he was in the process of explainin’ to some of his associates why his speech was so short, when he heard the enchanted voice from the unknown lady. He was mesmerized just as we all were by her singin’, what seemed to rise up to the heavens, then swoop down and embrace each one of us with its sweetness.
Her words was foreign, but it didn’t seem to matter to anyone, as her angelic voice had already found a place in our hearts. If looks was any indication to how people was feelin’ about the addition to Figaro’s speech, it seemed clear to me that he’d made a great impression on everyone.
As it turned out, the greatest impression had been made on him, though at the time none of it was clear to me. When momma told me the whole story, I was even more taken by the genuine goodness of how things can work out, ‘specially in the face of pure uncertainty.