Archive for the ‘joy’ Category

Your mother would know

March 19, 2017

Well goll-ee.

Lights

Let’s all get up and wave to a tune that was a hit soon after your mother was born;

though she was born a long long time ago,

your mother would know;

your mother would know.

And your grandmother

and your father and your grandfather.

AlbertJohn

Uncle Albert would know it too– Uncle Albert Schram, who conducted the orchestra last night.

You see him here in the background of this alternative-fact unauthorized photo.

In fact, Albert knows those old Beatles tunes so very thoroughly. He conducted the Charlotte Pops through an incredibly rousing symphonic accompaniment last night.  I could hardly believe it.

Take the infamous John Lennon composition Day in the Life piece, for instance. It’s on Sergeant Pepper’s.

When I first heard that strange finale in 1967, my sixteen-year-old mind didn’t know what to make of it.

Whatever it meant or did not mean (we were all wondering), it signaled that the Beatles had turned a huge corner in their musical development, from pop-music fab-four phenom to . . . ???

“. . . found my way upstairs and had a smoke. Somebody spoke and I went into a dream, Ohhhh, oh oh ohhhh. . .”

Now in 2017, it means. . .hell, I don’t know what it means.

That such a cacophonic  cadence as that Day in the Life finale could actually be orchestrally performed was amazing to me last night. All these years, I thought it was just Brian Epstein’s  or George Martin’s studio tricks.

Tony Kishman, the musician who fulfills the Paul McCartney role, pointed out that John, Paul, George and Ringo had never done this with a live symphony back in the day when they were in their heyday. Pretty interesting, I thought. Now their aged Sgt. Pepper’s studio wizardry has morphed into this phenomenal “tribute” event performed by an incredibly talented Beatles-tribute band. And however many hundreds or thousands of us geezers were enthusiastically waving our lit-up phones while singing.

“Naa naa naa, na na na naa, na na na nah, Hey Jude!”

“Take a sad song and make it better. . .”

Take an old song, and make it rock again . . . is what these guys do, the Classical Mystery Tour (they call themselves) along with our jubilant audience-participle thronging of us when-I-get-older-losing-my-hair baby boomers. I mean it was, like, so far out man.

Just how many 64-year-olds there were waving their devices and singing Hey Jude in that theatre last night, I do not know. But I can tell you this. A rocking good time was had by all, including the band. Just some good clean fun, y’all.

Tony also said something to us that, as he so poignantly pointed out, Paul had never said to a Beatles audience.  “Visit our website.”

Haha! Ain’t it the truth. Who’d have thunk it, that all this stuff would happen since those halcyon smoky days of yore.

    http://www.classicalmysterytour.com/

But hey, life goes on. Times change, and most of us get a little stuck in our minds back in that time of unsure discovery when we passed through teendom while wearing bell-bottoms, wondering who Lucy in the Sky was. And if you’re have trouble remembering the ’60’s, it’s probably because. . .

Never mind. Beneath the surface, something very special was always going on.

PianoPaul

Underneath it all, such a time as that had never happened before, nor would ever again.

But this is true even now; its part of the mystery tour of this life. Our kids will never view it, nor comprehend it, the same way we did. Nor could we see it the way our parents did.

Our parents had grown up in the 1930’s with Glenn Miller and Duke Ellington, Louie Armstrong and George Gershwin, and that was all well and good and they did their thing.

That greatest generation–who then grew up to  fight the Nazis back into their holes back in the 1940’s–that generation came back from the Big War, started generating us boomers like there’s no tomorrow. And at some point in the ’60’s, there was indeed some serious question about whether there would BE a tomorrow, because Khruschev and Kennedy almost blew the whole damn world up over those alternative-fact nukes down in Cuba.

When we boomers came along, the old War–the one they call WWII–was so intense, and still fresh in our parents’ memory and experience. But it was just history-book stuff for us. As John had sung:

“I read the news today, oh boy, the English army had just won the war.

A crowd of people turned away, but I just had to look,

having read the book.”

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, read a newspaper, or a book, or hazard a listen.

Smoke

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The Snowbird Lesson

December 30, 2016

When I was a child in Mississippi, we had a book about birds of North America. For some reason, I know not what, I became fascinated by a certain bird that was pictured therein. It was the snowbird. Being a boy from the deep south, I had not seen much snow, which was a rarity where I come from.

Perhaps that rarity factor is the reason I was fascinated by the picture of the snowbirds in my little book.

Now I’m sixty-five, and living in the Blue Ridge mountains, which can be quite snowy this time of year.

Early this morning, December 30, we did discover the first snow of the season, and I have to tell ya– along with the whitey flakes the snowbirds made their visit known to us.

Snowbird

Later in life, When I had become young man, I became fascinated with a song called “Snowbird” that was a hit on the radio at that time, 1960’s. It was a tear-jerker tune, sung perfectly by a lady known as the Canadian songbird, Annie Murray.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pq9bHd58-LA

“Snowbird” is a sad song about unrequited love.

“When I was young, my heart was young then too. Anything that it would tell me–that’s the thing that I would do.

But now I feel such emptiness within for the thing that I want most in life’s the thing that I can’t win. . .

and

“The breeze along the river seems to say, that she’ll only break my heart again, should I decide to stay.

So little snowbird take me with you when you go to that land of gentle breezes where the peaceful waters flow.”

. . . and yet, beneath the poem’s cold mantle of forlornness there is a trace of hope, a mention of “flowers that will come again in spring.

As it turned out, in my life the flowers did “come again in spring.” Those misadventures in love that later became a flood of heartache ultimately were buried in the fertile ground of life’s demands. Not only were seeds of new love sewn providentially into my life, but those seeds have yielded new flowers and more seeds.

Yet still, “the snowbird sings the song he always sang, and, as it turns out, eats the seeds always needs.

The snowbirds visited our house this morning, and wow! did they have a feast!

Snohello

Those little critters are much like the two humans–my wife and I–who find much joy in providing seed for them during this snowy season. There’s Snowy on the ledge, and his wifey down in the tree:

SnoMates

Thanks to love and marriage, which go together, you know, like a horse and carriage, or like . . . snowbirds and snow, my life has turned out to be a love feast instead of the festival of the broken-hearted that might have been, had not a wonderful loving woman come in and changed all that lovesick blues to pure white marital love, 37 years of it.

I wouldn’t trade marital love for anything in the world. It’s so much better than the broken heart that might have become bitterness. Thank God for true love that is lasting and faithful.

Here’s another version of the song, “Snowbird,” as recorded by the songwriter, Hank Snow.

   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBwqqH0LTyI

And here’s a parting pic of little Snowy with his Finchy friend.

Snowb&finch

Glass half-Full

A Poem for Christmas

December 24, 2016

Chrsms

Every Christmas season that comes and goes brings an emphasis that is different from previous years. This year’s discovery is something called a “Christmas market.”

This term, which seems to indicate a market that is in some way unique to the Noel season, a market that is more joyously conducted, perhaps, than just any old assemblage of vendors selling stuff. I first pondered the phrase while reading sad reports of the murderous bus driver at the “Christmas market” in Berlin. A day or two later, while Pat and I were skyping with our daughter, who is in Europe, Katie mentioned that Christmas markets are “all over the place” over there.

This Christmas eve morn, I was sitting in the chair by the tree,  listening to Handel’s Messiah, and wondering about the Christmas market phenomenon, and how it might be different from just any old walmart or kreske store. In order to learn what it is, I thought I’d look it up. But suddenly, a star shone brightly in my brain and I decided to write a poem about it instead, without even knowing what a Christmas market really is!

Oh Christmas market, O Christmas market free,

How lovely are your goods to see!

Though not in session when summer’s here,

You’re only in the Noel time of year!

Oh Christmas market, O Christmas market free,

How lovely are your figs and pears to see!

Oh Christmas market, O Christmas market free,

How festive Man hath profited from thee!

Thou biddest us to all buy faithfully,

Our trust in free enterprise, consumerly!

Oh Christmas market, O Christmas market free

How enterprising  Man hath been with thee!

Oh Christmas market, O Christmas market free,

Thy giftings gleam so, so brightly!

Each purchase doth add its tiny part

To make our economy glow and spark!

Oh Christmas market, O Christmas market free,

Thy prosperity doth shine so,  so brightly!

Oh Christmas time, O Christmas time so holy,

Thy nativity’s obscured now almost wholly

by buying and selling of so many services and goods.

We would buy them all, if we could!

Oh Christmas child, O Christmas child,

Where art thou now in this world so wild?

But hey! What light through yonder darkness breaks?

Still through our dark markets shineth

The everlasting light.

The thoughts and gifts of all our years

are giv’n in Thee tonight!

Feliz Navidad, Jesus!

Glass half-Full

Bon Voyage for Joey and Maria

December 24, 2015

Joey was really in love with Maria, so it didn’t matter so much to him that she was carrying someone else’s baby. He intended to marry her anyway and raise the child as his own. Blinded by love, he was ready to do anything to protect her. Her face was always in his mind, in his dreams. Whenever they were together, he felt himself to be a true man. Whenever they were apart, he felt himself even more, a man. That meant something–something very precious, very strong, and very. . . ancient, as if they had been together since the dawn of time. In spite of all the trouble and displacement of their immediate circumstances, he felt more a man now than ever before in his life.

What is a man anyway? Someone who takes responsibilities for his own action.

But to take responsibility for someone else’s carelessness? That’s crazy, especially if it requires a lifelong commitment to some other man’s kid.

It wasn’t like he could explain why he was willing to do anything for her. She had told him the whole terrible truth about what had happened–how she had gotten pregnant unexpectedly after making some poor choices.  He had known her far longer than the guy who had inflicted this condition on her.

But it was more than a condition that had taken hold of Maria. It was a child.

Nothing about that loser mattered now anyway. It was all water under the bridge.

They had left Izmir two days ago. Now, Joey and Maria were stepping onto an overcrowded boat to depart Lesbos. Two sketchy-looking characters were up on the deck, acting like they owned the place, rudely waving their herd of misfits through while checking each one’s ticket to make sure they had paid. No freeloaders. The two goons had already turned several off the boat, provoking loud protests from those rejected travelers–protests that were shouted loudly to no avail.

Joey felt secure in one thing; he had paid dearly for their two tickets. It had cost him more than half of everything he had managed to bring with them.

As the goon waved him and Maria through, he felt great relief.

He looked at Maria’s face. She was still smiling. It had been days since he had seen her smile. Suddenly, everything was worth the trouble and the pain of whatever the hell they were getting into now, whatever new phase. As they stumbled, then walked, around the stern, and to the other side of the boat. There was an open space at the side. He gently placed his had on her back, just above her perfect derriere, and urged her with a tender guidance to rest for a moment at the railing. This was, after all, a very special moment–one they had talked about for weeks. Now they were here at last, on the boat, bound for Athens.

He looked out seaward, across the bright-on-dark horizon, at the deep blue sea. Soon they would be skimming o’er the waves. Some time tomorrow, they would arrive in Athens and find the place that Gabe had told him about. If they could get there, surely their troubles would be over, at least for awhile.

After surveying that long-expected horizon for a few moments, he looked again at Maria’s face. The smile had morphed into what seemed a painful expression. But there was still a smile, somehow, beneath the pain. That’s what he loved about her. Now he couldn’t resist the urge, and there was no need to anyway. He bent down and laid a a long, wet kiss on her lips; she responded in a way that made him long for a place of their own. But this intimacy could only go on for so long here in this place, on this boat amongst all these straggly people, and then. . .

Then he looked out to the Aegean again, and his mind began to, in spite of itself, jump to the next phase–whatever that might be. He was hoping there would be room for them at the inn.

Smoke

Afterglow

October 13, 2015

One man, one woman

become one.

Host of family and friends

from near and far

gather.

Joy, celebration, love;

heaven comes down

to us

while we witness,

in bright sunshine,

WhiteRed

nature’s original intent

for him and her. . .

sacramental coupling more

mysterious and sweet than

we could have anticipated, so that the

coital coupling to come will conceive pure

love.

A miracle of unity, this event transforms

all who are present and willing

to enter into their sacred intent toward each other,

in faithfulness, fidelity, finality.

Rare, but true.

 

John speaks of love and sacrifice, while

celestial grace streams from

blue sky.

Wisdom gets multiplied by two, and

Joy

far greater than we could have mustered,

erupts from the fearless conviction of their vows,

spoken boldly, with certainty, and yet lit up

around the edges, like this entire celebration itself,

with a slightly naughty mirth.

RoseWindo

Such brave intent we see, in spite of the dissolution of all things holy that’s

going on out there in, you know. . .

the world, and all that other crap we hear about from time to time.

But now. . .

Their vowful miracle becomes

a blessing to us who witness, even

as they speak the gift into existence, pronouncing to

each other.

 

And then they skip away.

And so amazed are we

while we wonder at the the scene. We

had wandered in; now we float

out, in sacramental awe.

We eat, drink, dance, celebrate into the night until. . .

as suddenly as they had entered in,

bride and groom are gone.

To discover the greatest mysteries of life.

RedWhite

This Afterglow

bequeaths us traces of infinite, unpredictable

fulfillment,

with glintings of eternal grace.

This moment, remembered, shall inspire us

to consecrate today’s exchange, while

these two young ones are continually equipped,

in time,

to become one.

They’ll discover, as days and nights ripen,

that pleasure which is, in all of life, the most precious of all:

to behold, as days slip into years, that smile on the face

of the one you love.

They’ll come to savor it, like the finest wine, as Mom and Dad have,

and their Mom and Dad before them.

That unfathomable depth of joy will fortify

the life they share with invincible companionship.

While meanwhile, back at the ranch, parents bask in

afterglow.

Centerpiece

The Child’s Laughter

July 19, 2015

ChildLaugh

 

 

Why here’s a sudden torrent of joy

spouting from a toddler boy,

an eruption of laughter spontaneous

provoked by his cousin’s zaniness!

Where in heaven’s name could it come from?

 

 

It’s as if this untrained burst of mirth

hath bursted from some reservoir beneath the earth

maybe from some fountain of amusement so vast

that its flood comes sloshing so fast!

 

There must be some great ocean of mirth

that preceded the boy’s recent birth

a love from which his joy suddenly rises

like in a carnival of silly prizes.

 

Evidence it is, I think, of some vast wellbeing unseen,

as if it’s spurting from a divine dream!

This bright shower of silly serendipity

must be a substance of the happiness we hope will be,

and now we suddenly see.

Yes! now so joyously we hear

a perfect laughter that casts out all fear.

Tussling