Sometimes, one encounters a person with some extraordinary characteristics. She might have a talent for singing, he might be a gifted artist, but neither will ever be seen nor appreciated. Therefore, I see them as lights, hidden beneath bushels – they go through life unrecognized.
When I was eighteen, I met a girl named Ann Small. The name was a great fit because she was tiny. She was very pretty, about five feet tall and ninety pounds, and very nicely dressed at all times. I met her at a dance in a community center in a very conservative neighbourhood. She was radiant in the dance floor lights, with a sweeping tumble of rich, blond hair down to her shoulders.
My friends dared me to ask her to dance, so I did. No problem, she rose into my arms. We talked and danced for a while. She was obviously shy, although I don’t understand why, being that she was very pretty in her tight-fitting, knit, periwinkle blue dress. Perhaps it was that she was so slight. It’s all the more surprising, because I later learned that she was two years older than me.
On another date with Ann, I was parked with her in my MG, down by the lake. A police cruiser came by and stopped to annoy us. He towered over us, looking down into the open cockpit. He looked over at her and asked how old she was. She said twenty-one, and that’s how I learned that she was a couple of years older than I was. The cop looked at my license and saw that I was only eighteen, grinned, handed back my license and told me to move on. It was nice of him not to mention my age in front of Ann.
The light beneath a bushel was revealed one night when I took her out for a cruise in my father’s boat. Out in the middle of the harbour, I cut the engines and just floated gently, looking back at the brilliantly lit city skyline. In the glow from the city, I could see other personal boats also floating and enjoying the summer night.
Ann was sitting in a wicker chair on the rear deck, sipping lemonade from the boat’s galley. Suddenly, she sat back and began to sing. A wonderful, warm voice, somewhat husky filled the night air. She sang an old Sinatra favourite; ‘Fly Me to the Moon’, and let me play among the stars, let me see what spring is like on Jupiter and Mars’. It was like magic. Almost as if the orchestration was there. She was a gifted singer. She worked as a receptionist in an automobile showroom. She was a light beneath a bushel.