Posts Tagged ‘true love’

The Scarecrow some of us have known

March 11, 2016

We put ashes of my nephew away yesterday, in the cold ground. It was a sad event, tragic that a young man could strive through the difficult decade of being between age 20 and 30, only to have it end abruptly.

Searching for love, with a false start or two, and fathering two young ones into this world along the way, Erik had just started to turn the corner between bittersweet street and true love way with his very own soulmate, Nora. Then he passed away. Absolutely no one was expecting it. It was a tragedy for our large extended family. On a perfect March day, we put what was left of his earthly remains away, but not the memories.

His sister Samantha, my niece, pierced the hearts of us all with her tender remembrance of Erik’s life–his unique presence in the history of our world, his wry humor, his fierce determination to provide for the young family despite all the pitfalls of finding and retaining work in this fiercely competitive world. More importantly though, his sister brought to our gathered attention his intense love for his children, his blooming love with his newfound bride of five months. And then his sister mentioned the bluebird.

In many ways, the young man who passed reflected the troubles of our times. At age 30, he was a tender shoot, untimely snipped by death’s sharp shearing. In sibling Samantha’s sensitive eulogy, she explained why Erik called his wife, his true love, “bluebird.”

It was a reference to a very timely, profound love song by a young singer I had never heard of. But at the memorial ceremony, a recording of the ballad was played for us to hear as we reflected up the life and childlike legacy of the deceased.

As an aging songwriter of sorts myself, I was struck dumb with admiration when this line–about the power that is unleashed in a lonely heart when absolute love is at last discovered– poured out of the sedate funeral home sound system:

“In my heart stands a scarecrow, and if he’s hurt he doesn’t say so; he chases everything he loves away.

But at night, when it’s colder, there’s a bluebird on his shoulder, and he whispers that he’ll hold her one bright day. . .”

Such a love song I have never heard. And such a life as Erik’s will never again be lived again. John Fulbright’s tender love tune came to my attention through this memorial to Erik, his beloved widow Nora, and his sister’s remembrance of it all. The song, linked above, captures more than I could ever explain in words.

Thank you, Sam, for sharing this rich love of life lived by your brother, which has now been passed to us by his passing.

Glass half-Full

The deja view of Deja Vue

October 15, 2013

Today I had a flashback of when I first heard Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s Deja Vu.  This little blast from the past  occurred while I was listening to Terry Gross interview Graham Nash on the radio.

The memory is this: I was in Ironton, Ohio in the summer of 1971. Ironton is a small town on the Ohio River. I had finished freshman year at LSU, and was trying to make some money selling dictionaries door-to-door. I felt like a stranger in a strange land, because this Louisiana boy had ventured, for the first time, away from the flat, hot humid delta where I was raised, to make a few bucks in a hilly, backwoods industrial town where folks said “you-uns” instead of “y’all.”

I was a pretty good salesman I guess but nothin to write home about. And to tell the truth I wasn’t really into selling door to door, so maybe there was a little escapist streak deep inside of me that responded to the deep experience of hearing Deja Vu.

That music became an important part of my life. Now,  fast forward 42 years or so.

Today, I heard Graham Nash telling Terri that Deja Vu was a “dark” album, as compared to the first CSNY that they had done before they recruited Neil Young.

That explains a lot. All four of those guys were having a hard time, dealing with major life-setbacks when they came together to record that music in 1971 after their initial successes.

So that Ohio flashback is the deja view memory that triggered this blog, but Graham’s interview with Terri today was actually much more upbeat than the “dark” Deja Vu record album. For instance, a couple of Terry’s song selections, chosen to prompt their fascinating exchange, were very beautiful love songs that Graham Nash et al  had sung back in the day: Bus Stop, which Graham had recorded early-on with The Hollies, and  the CSN Our House.

Both songs are very precious memories for me. And both songs represent the outcome of my life much better than the angsty existentialism of Deja Vu. Because, you see, in this life I chose love instead of a trippy pursuit of music and free love and all that bohemian blahblah, even though . . . even though I carry with me, as CSNY have, the curse of musicianship.

I’m happy for them that they could do such incredibly creative work in music. But I never would have been able to get through that minefield of distractions and temptations without going crazy, like, as Graham explains, Crosby almost did (go off the deep end.)

So I chose love instead–one woman, for 33 years, and three grown young’uns. I wouldn’t take nothin for my journey now. We actually have a really Our House, which just got paid off last month, and the music schizo stuff–well, it has always been on the back burner.

Graham’s old flame, Joni Mitchell, once sang “something’s lost and something’s gained in living every day.”

So true.

The trade-offs we make as we go along–we don’t know really know what they are until we look back on them. I traded a pursuit of the wild  music scene and hippie love for true love and family life. This probably saved me a lot of pain and trouble.

“The sweetest thing I know of is spending time with you,” is a line in an old John Denver Song. It expresses well how I feel about my wife, Pat, and our long married life together, and watching our kids grow up and go out and do their own thing. And I still feel for her that fresh, newly-hatched love that Graham was describing in Bus Stop.

What it was that kept me on track and faithful all this time was certainly not anything that I could muster. It was only by the grace of God. Thank you, Jesus.

Glass Chimera