I think I've mentioned before that I sang the National Anthem at the Hollywood Bowl. Here's my story:
When the girls were 6 and 9 we went to California for a trip. Disneyland, the beach, L.A., the usual stuff people do. While we were driving around, Hal mentioned looking for the Hollywood Bowl.
I'd heard the term "Hollywood Bowl" but I really didn't know what it was. I kind of thought it was like the Rose Bowl. (It's not.)
Anyway, as we were driving, about 10 minutes later we happened across a sign that had an arrow pointing the way to the Hollywood Bowl. What luck. We followed the signs around and came to some pretty busy streets. We followed another confusing sign and ended up in a parking lot. So far, so good. We hiked up the hill to where we thought it should be, but never figured out where it was. We thought it must be up the hill a little farther. Since I was pregnant and the girls weren't that interested, we gave up on our search, much to Hal's disappointment.
End of story, or it would have been except for the fact that we ended up doing almost the exact same trip one year later. Hal had another convention in L.A. the next January, so we all tagged along, Austin included (he was about 6 months old). We ended up going on almost the same exact drive, around the same busy, curving streets when we came across the same Hollywood Bowl signs.
I could tell it meant a lot to Hal, so we tried again to find it. We ended up in the same parking lot scratching our heads. I finally talked him into letting me ask someone and I'm glad I did because we would have never found it on our own. We were actually kind of kitty corner across (I'm thinking it is the freeway) the road from it. Once we got pointed in the right direction, we crossed the road and ended up driving directly into the entrance. I think it was also pretty clearly marked. All we would have had to do the year before was look across the streets to the other side.
So, we drove in and got out to take a look around. There were a couple of other people there who looked like they were supposed to be there but they didn't say anything to us so we went in and started checking things out. (At this point I realized that there really was no football played here.)
We ended up wandering around the little box seat sections and sat down for a while. Then the girls started exploring a little. That's when we realized that we could go on stage.
I was a little concerned, thinking someone was going to show up any minute and throw us out of there, so I decided to make it worth being thrown out.
Hal was still down in the audience section with Austin, so I told him we (the girls and I) were going to sing The National Anthem. Since I'm no singer, I'm sure he thought I was nuts but I was not going to waste this once in a lifetime opportunity.
I cleared my throat and started out, "My country, 'tis of thee..."
Something didn't seem quite right. Finally I realized that that was not The National Anthem.
Embarrassed, I started again, "Oh beautiful, for spacious skies..."
Rats, still not it.
I totally blanked out. Good thing this was not in front of a paying audience or they would be asking for their money back. (For more reasons than one.)
Finally, consulting with the others in attendance, I found the right words. "Oh say, can you see...." The girls started off with me, but I lost them there somewhere among the broad stripes and bright stars.
I'm proud to say, I made it through the whole song. I'm not proud to say that I was off-key probably 99 percent of the time. Oh well, you can't blame a girl for trying. (It's probably the closest thing to 15 minutes of fame I will ever have, although it was more like 3 minutes.)
And so, there you have it, the story of how I sang a solo of The National Anthem, on stage at the Hollywood Bowl.