48

It was Thanksgiving morning and I was making coffee in the kitchen. This is California, so the Packers-Lions game would start up at 9:30, and my dad was in the TV room listening to the usual pregame banter. Soon, the first notes of the national anthem rang out, and my dad abruptly got up to come find me. He had something to say and he got right to it. “The national anthem needs a new style,” he said. “Everyone sings it the same way. It’s as if we’ve got this standard, football version, and I don’t know where it came from.” At this, he broke into a warbling, gospel-esque rendition of the song, and I wondered if maybe he was being racist. So, under the pretense of getting a refreshed impression of the anthem for myself, I slipped past him to where I could see the TV, checked the singer’s skin color, and, seeing that she was white, said to my dad, “Yeah, I could go for some variety.”

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