How Do You Solve A Problem Like….This?

“Yay! Puppets!” Miss6 squealed with delight as they wheeled out a puppet theatre set to stand next to the performers’ steps in front of the 500 strong crowd.

I didn’t like her chances, considering we were all crammed into the hall at Southside school to watch our kids perform in a choir sing off.

“The next choir will also perform The Lonely Goatherd,” said the announcer.

Which of course meant she was right.

“Yay! Puppets!” I said to her, and we high fived.

You don’t realize how many schools are in your area until you have to listen to two songs apiece. A puppet show sounded like a cool distraction. That it was from such a fantastic movie only made it even better.

“You’ll know this song,” I told her. “It’s from The Sound Of Music.”

“What’s that?” Miss6 asked me.

“The Sound of Music. You know…” and I sang her a few lines from My Favourite Things. Although I couldn’t remember the words. I’m pretty sure I had mittens on kittens. Anyway I threw in a ‘brown paper packages tied up with string‘ and ended with a solid ‘these are a few of my favourite things‘ and waited for recognition to flood her face.

“Barney?” she said.

“What? No,” I said, frowning as I ran through a few names from the movie – Kurt, Freddie, Rolf. I gave up when I couldn’t remember Captain Von Trapp’s first name or that of the music promoter, because I didn’t think either was Barney. “The Sound of Music,” I encouraged her.

“I don’t think I know that.”

“We own the DVD. We play it heaps.”

“Then I think I don’t like it. I think I leave the room.”

No one leaves the room during The Sound Of Music – it’s the law. I wasn’t done.

“You must know the so long song,” I told her, and rattled off a ‘so long, farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, goodnight‘ and followed on immediately with an ‘adieu, adieu, to you and you and you‘, meaning I didn’t rhyme it but I hoped she wouldn’t notice.

“Yeah, that’s Barney, Dad,” said Miss6.

Just then the choir started up, so I gave had to be quiet. Which was a shame because I’d just remembered a doe was a deer and was about to hit her with that one.

By the time we could talk again I’d all but forgotten about the exchange. I was chatting with a mate and waving at Miss9, who we’d gone to watch perform (she did awesome, of course, as did all the choirs), and then they announced the winners.

Well kind of.

I don’t know if I missed something in the announcements at the beginning of the night or if this ‘everyone’s a winner’ thing they tend to do at schools these days has hit a new level, but all the choirs got a silver award. All of them. There was a buzz of confusion as all the parents and well wishers started to file out of the hall.

“I think we got second,” I said to a lady who’d been standing near me.

“I think we did too,” she half smiled at me.

So it wasn’t just me. No one else knew what was going on either.

“Maybe Gympie’s run out of gold,” one of the other parents said to me, referring to the rich gold mining history this town has. It was the most likely solution.

But I don’t know. I was just happy to be heading home with our silver medal. It was nearly 8pm and I hadn’t had dinner.

When we arrived at our house I remembered the conversation I’d had with Miss6 and retold it to Tracey, including singing my renditions of the Sound of Music songs.

“Barney is the purple singing dinosaur,” Tracey reminded me. “And he sings those songs, or those songs with similar lyrics and melodies, on the DVD we have.”

Of course. I don’t like him. It’s one of those shows I leave the room for.

“Well, we need to throw that DVD away,” I told my wife. “It’s ruining our daughters cultural education. She thought all the songs I sang were from that show.”

“I don’t think throwing it away will solve anything,” Tracey said to me. “The problem is, you actually sound like Barney when you sing.”

Now that hurts. I’m starting to understand how that lonely goatherd felt at the beginning of the song… 😉

When not typing away over here and checking his stats every two minutes Bruce Devereaux hangs out at his ‘BIG FAMILY little income’  Facebook Page.

 ’raising a family on little more than laughs’


  • Love this Bruce! It reminded me of when Master 9 was just 4 and at a little bush festival in western NSW. Daddy had to take him to the rather busy toilet block, where he plonked himself down and sang “How do you solve a problem like Maria” for all to hear until his business there was done. My husband demanded I do all toilet duty after that!

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