My Cardboard Box

Of Anthems and Emergency Rooms

with one comment

I guess I’m sort of jumping on the Whitney Houston funeral train by mentioning (as have numerous other people) that her singing of the National Anthem were some of her best performances.

It’s a hard song to sing. I don’t think I need bore you with a litany of who’s done it well, who hasn’t, who inspired and who just plain sucked.

But thinking about that brought back memories of an evening in an emergency room in San Antonio in July 1996. Why I was there isn’t important – at least not now. Suffice it to say I’d been two hours in a cheap plastic seat against a wall, trying to tune out the heat and the chaos. The air was filled with agitated Spanish, the delighted shrieks of two kids using the chairs as a playground, the ringing of phones, the soft sobbing of a woman across from me, two young vatos arguing near (and on) a pay phone, and the occasional call-out from the overhead public-address speakers.

And the television – bolted to the wall high up in the corner (conveniently out of reach), its volume set to ‘kill eardrum’. The only saving grace was that it was tuned to the Major League All-Star game, or at least the warmup-patter Bob Costas was laying on Joe Morgan.

Then through the din I heard the announcer say “And now to sing the national anthem, Kelsey Grammer.” Then Kelsey started singing.

And with the first few words, the magic happened. Except for the brief ring of a single phone, the ER went quiet.

Of course it went back to utter bedlam five seconds after the last note sounded.

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Written by PappyBro

February 12, 2012 at 18:51

Posted in Music, Musings

One Response

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  1. Perfect. Just perfect. You write well, my dear, AND you have something worthwhile to say. The two intersect all too rarely. I’m very glad you decided to share.

    trailing wife

    February 12, 2012 at 19:43


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