Thing was never going to sing at the Paris Opera but that wasn’t the point; he sang because he liked it. It made him happy. Thing’s father was always whistling a tune and he did it so often that most times he didn’t seem to notice.
“What’s that tune?” Thing would ask.
“Heck, if I know,” said his dad.
Thing's mother would also ‘tut’ at that point because she didn’t think that folks should say ‘heck’.
Thing’s father had told him that the Great Thing in the sky probably put a tune in everyone’s heart when they were born and that was the tune they worked by all their lives. It was the one they sang when they were scared, or happy, or in love, or sad or just because they felt like it.
Thing had a song about jumping as high as the clouds and on those days when he was blue or later on when he missed his parents, he would shout it out as loud as he could all around the cave and do you know what? He felt a whole lot better.
Sometimes in town he would sing the song real quite like so the he didn’t feel so alone.
Some sunny days in spring, folks would bring their geetars down to the town square and they’d sing about this and that and the other. Big one and small ones would stand and listen and join in -, if the feeling took them. It left everyone humming tunes as they walked home.
Thing wished he could sing just one song that would make folks happy and have them all whistling tunes and perhaps they would stand around and join in.
One day at school his teacher asked each person in the class to stand and do something special, tell a joke, perform a card trick, tell about their grandma – anything that was a little unique to them.
Thing listened in awe at the folks in his class, he laughed, he cried, he applauded and he hollered when the person deserved it - although as Mrs Hills said, ‘hollering was for outside’.
Then it was Thing’s turn and he stood and he sang his jumping song. I think it was Casey Briggs who shouted ‘What cha call that? A thong? He ain’t singing he’s thinging’ and most of the folks in the class began to laugh. Mrs Hills clapped her hands, thanked Thing and asked him to sit again.
For a long time after and a long time after that, folks would shout across the street at him about ‘Thing the thinger who sings thongs’. Now I ain’t telling you this story about Thing so you’ll feel sorry and all – Thing wasn’t like that - Thing had a song in his heart which had been placed there by the Great Thing in the sky the day he was born and it was his duty to sing the song if it made him happy.
Thing once asked his Dad, when he’d had a bad day with the folks in school, if maybe the problem was that we all had different songs in our hearts and that some folks didn’t want to listen or couldn’t hear the other folks’ tunes.
“Heck, you just might be right there, little ‘un’,” said his dad.
His mother gave out another ‘tut’ because of that word being used again.
Thing realised that the way he heard his song was probably not the way the other folks heard it. It didn’t mean anyone was wrong or right. It was just that a tune is a tune and only really exists to make you happy. If the others don’t like your tune then you should just sing it to yourself.
So you’re already packing up this story and thinking we’ve arrived at the end of it - but you’d be wrong.
One day when Thing was sitting at the door of his cave, some horses were grazing nearby and just at that point Thing felt the need to sing the tune he’d been given.
One by one the horses came over and stood and listened and shook their heads, they way horses do, and then they rubbed their heads against Thing as a way of thanking him.
You see, you couldn’t make everyone like your song - that wasn’t why you had been given it - but sometimes when you least expected it your song might seep into someone else’s heart and make them feel a whole lot better .
Thing decided you should never let anyone stop you singing your song and never ever change it or you just might miss a friend who likes your tune.
bobby stevenson + THING 2015