Monday, January 26, 2015

Traveling in the Car

By Larry Collins, Guest Blogger

One of the many highlights of our daughter Kimberly’s visit last month for me included singing in the car on the way to Disneyland.

As we approached the parking structure, Kim, now in her forties, and I (I’m seventy) were happily singing the duet “Love is an Open Door” from the movie Frozen. And yes, I’ve seen the YouTube videos. In my opinion, we were just as good.
Singing comes naturally to our family. My dad and his three brothers harmonized around the piano at many family gatherings when I was growing up. Lorna’s grandfather was a semi-professional lyric tenor, and her mother both played and taught piano. Her aunts, mother, and grandmother sang hymns in parts while doing the dishes each night.

For many years, beginning when Kim was little, our family spent several hours driving between our home and our parents’ place at the beach where we spent each weekend. To pass the time, our trio would sing. After working through the latest radio songs and “Doe a Deer” from The Sound of Music, we would begin one of our other current favorites.

A special one was a round recorded by Spanky and Our Gang. The actual title is “Pedagogical Round #2. It is one of the most difficult songs to learn, but one of the most fun to sing. It was also a good teaching tool to learn the scale, as each number in the song corresponds to a musical note. For each repetition, we increased the tempo until either someone faltered, or we broke into spontaneous laughter.
I have included the link to the YouTube video above so you can hear it for yourself. It went like this:

One, Three, Five, Eight, Seven, Six, Five, Four,
Three, Five, Two, Three, Four, sharp Five.
And the Eight is the same as the One, but an octave apart
Try to learn it by heart.

Another was Don Mc Lean’s “By the Waters of Babylon.” We liked this one so much we taught it and sang it at church.

We’d sometimes take hikes into Big Santa Anita Canyon. On those trips, we sang Art Garfunkel’s “Woyaya” from his album, Angel Clare in harmony. Some of the girls from Kim’s Girl Scout troop may remember this one.

In addition, we read on those long journeys. Whoever wasn’t driving read to Kim. We went through all the Little House books, including the biographies, The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, Stewart Little, Charlotte’s Web, etc.

All of us have wonderful memories of those long trips and the fun we had on our travels.

Did any of you have special rituals for fighting the boredom of a long ride? We’d love to hear about them.


  1. Except for hubby and 2nd daughter, no one is particularly musical in our family. We did sing in the car though--mostly songs we learned at Camp Fire Girls--campng ones and some really silly ones.

    1. All three of us will spontaneously burst into song if we hear something which provokes a memory--often at the same time. Kim is a fantastic singer. In 1984, we accompanied her award-winning choir to Israel where they sang in Manger Square in Bethlehem on Christmas Eve--a trip of a lifetime. She still sings in the huge choir at Prestonwood Church in Dallas. And we still remember all the old campfire songs from Girl Scouts.

  2. If I sang loudly it would scare people away for a ten mile radius. I truly wish I could sing. It sounds like you had so very much fun! We used to play alphabet games during long trips. Fun post!
    Marja McGraw

    1. Not everyone can sing, but most people who travel with small children develop a strategy for passing the time.