We descended Mammoth Caves with eighty others in the tour group and despite the presence of all the humanity it was an awesome sight. We were dwarfed by the massive creation 10 million years in the making. Together we learned of this lengthy history, the patience of its formation and the odd fact that there were, indeed, no actual mammoths roaming the depths of the cave.
The strange and various rock formations did yield a good tour and a number of interesting facts. It was when we arrived to a section of the cave noted for its acoustic sharpness that this story, itself, becomes as intriguing as the cave.
"Here," the young tour guide spoke in fitting drawl, "is a beautiful point in the cave which highlights wonderful acoustics. Does anyone care to sing and demonstrate?" Of all the people listening, not one dared to volunteer to sing in front of the rest. "Well, I'm not going to sing either. I sound like a hound dog," the tour guide spoke as we laughed.
Of course though none had volunteered to sing in front of the rest, no shortage of the group hesitated to sing aloud as they walked by this point. This included the four of us as we walked. Each of us stopped and sang a short diddy. I danced too, but acoustics couldn't help me there. We heard the echos ring.
"La La Laaaaa," Ben (I don't know if I can use the word) sang in baritone.
"Oh! Do you gentlemen sing?" the park ranger tailing the group asked us from the rear.
"Uhhhh...." Mike hesitated as I interjected,
"Yes. Yes, we're actually a barbershop quartet!" we laughed.
"Why, that's great news. Nice to meet you," she excitedly said, "I'll be sure to let the guide know on our next stop."
We undulated, all of us afloat upon this little bit of fiction. Wavering, but without words, we collectively decided to tread ahead and go with the flow.
At lunch we ate sandwiches that had been carted down in the only elevator shaft constructed in the the cave system. We were enjoying our ham and cheese when the tour guide approached us,"I've been told that you gentlemen are musicians?"
Because it couldn't be farther from the truth, I spoke up to correct him, "Well, we're just a quartet."
"Golly! And where are you from?" he inquired.
"We're from Chicago," Ben answered and from there we just let the guide do his job lead us ahead into a false story.
"And when you perform in Chicago, do you go by any name?"
"Yes, we're called the Windy City Quartet."
"It would be a great honor if we could have the Windy City Quartet perform for us in the caves, wouldn't it?" He asked.
Going with the flow? I thought. "Right, It would be our honor, we'd love to."
"Wonderful, I'll let you know when we're ready."
Again, Ben looked at Mike and Mike looked at me and I looked at Bocheng and Bocheng looked at Ben. Collectively we gulped, pulled our collar from our neck, shrugged, and moved on with the tour not knowing what to expect.
And neither do you know what to expect! Keep posted, or follow this blog to find what happens in part 3 of this mammoth tale.