Monday Music #19

 

There are songs, special songs, that can transport us back in time to a certain point, a specific memory. Leaving On a Jet Plane is one of those songs for me. I think I mentioned it once before in a blog post.

The song, written by John Denver, was recorded by Peter, Paul, and Mary in 1967. So, I imagine it was around  the summer of 1968 or 69 when my cousin Paula and I sang it at the top of our lungs in the back of her parents station wagon. We, all us Graham/Denmark cousins, had been to the next town over to swim. We were headed home down a south Georgia two-lane, the summer air blowing our hair around as it dried our swimsuits, and I don’t remember if the song came on the radio or if we just started singing it. I’m not sure why this moment in time has stuck with me all these years. I think it was the pure joy of the moment, the carefree happiness of a childhood that was always made better when cousins were around.

A few weeks ago I reunited with Paula for a weekend in Arkansas. It was the first time, probably since that summer, that we had been together for any length of time. In fact, we’d only seen each other 4-5 times in the intervening years. But, there is something about the bond of cousins – the years made no difference – it was like we picked up where we’d left off so many summers ago.  We have led such different lives, yet the bond of family and the bond of Christ has held us together. For that I am grateful.

 

me 7 P

 

 

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Can’t Separate

 

Can’t Separate

 

Can’t separate me from the past

my grandfather’s desertion

the tenacity of my grandmothers

the stories told and retold

by the aunts who remember  

 

Can’t separate me from my childhood

Dad’s bellowing and invented words

Mom’s steadfastness and silly jokes

brothers by my side, happy or not

supper in the kitchen every night

 

Can’t separate me from those cousins

who made paper dolls for me

we swam and skated and pretended

and whispered into the night

those first and forever friends

 

Can’t separate me from my husband

who made a new family with me

who grew and stumbled by my side

the one who really knows me

and loves me anyway

 

Can’t separate me from my offspring

flesh of my flesh who look like their dad

my babies grown up too soon

across state lines and time zones

in joy and sorrow, mine

 

Can’t separate me from this next generation

the little ones who let me love on them

these two with bits of me inside

this hope for the future

this family of mine

 

Written April, 2017

Monday Music #14/Just Breathe

tree

“I have always found that I did not get so tired, and my day seemed shorter, when I listened to the birds singing or noticed, from the window, the beauties of the trees or clouds.”           – Laura Ingalls Wilder

 

Funerals

casket

 

“All the same, thought Madame Michaud, you dress and adorn the dead who are destined to rot in the earth. It’s a final homage, a supreme proof of love to those we hold dear.” – Suite Francaise by Irene  Nemirovsky

I’ve thought a lot about funerals lately. I guess I can agree with Madame Michaud to a point; funerals can be a proof of love. Or they can be a racket that takes money from vulnerable people without even blinking. I have experienced this in recent months and don’t want my children to go through it. I want a plain wooden casket with no frills. I don’t think it will be necessary to offer refreshments to the mourners, or generic counseling to my kids, or bookmarks, or thank you cards with my obit inscribed on them.

 

“Still, since you brung it up, I’ll say this: my feeling bout buryin’ ain’t the same as your’n. You remember that.” – Love Simpson, Cold Sassy Tree by  Olive Ann Burns

I hope to be buried near the ocean. I would like my funeral message to be preached by a true believer who will tell those in attendance about Christ. And I hope  my kids will  have a few funny stories to tell about me.

 

Monday Music #10/Wonder #5

1965 001

1st Christmas in Jacksonville – 1965

This is a 2-for-1 combo of Monday Music and Wonder (Years).

The Wonder Years is one of those shows I could watch over and over. In Season Two/Episode Six, Harper’s Woods, the childhood hangout of Kevin, Winnie, and Paul, is set for destruction. A shopping mall was on the horizon.

“ Every kid needs a place to go to be a kid” – the Wonder Years

Growing up, we had a Harper’s Woods of our own, though it didn’t have a name. We just called it The Woods. It was across the road from our little neighborhood, a street of about 45 homes, built in the mid-sixties. I’m not a good judge of size, but I’d guestimate it was 9-10 acres. Within those boundaries were trails walked, and for the fortunate few, ridden by mini-bikes; forts built by trial and error;  games played; and tons of imagination swirling around.

I never saw a parent enter our little territory. If someone was late coming home or needed by mom, a sibling was sent in to fetch the required kid.

“There’s something in those woods you can’t see with your eyes. You have to look with your heart. It’s my childhood.” – The Wonder Years

Our other natural playground was the large drainage ditch than ran behind the houses. There my brothers shot moccasins and brought them home to be skinned. I waded in, catching minnows and little crawdads, always on alert for snakes, though. At the end of our street, the ditch emptied in a little creek. Across that creek was a magical zone I discovered when I was just on the brink of being a teenager. In it was a patch of bamboo and a huge fallen tree that went across the creek.  I crossed the tree, albeit on hands and knees, and wondered at the beauty of it all that I had no words for. Years later, when I read Bridge to Terabithia, it all came back to me. It was exactly what I pictured when I read about Leslie and Jesse.

three

Christmas, circa 1987

By the time I was a teenager, our woods were gone, replaced by more houses that expanded our neighborhood. I babysat a lot of kids in my neighborhood, and now I see that in just a few short years, the freedom to roam that I enjoyed was cut short for those kids who came after me.

And now this – I discovered this song by Twenty One Pilots a few years ago and it fits right in here I think. Makes me think of my grandkids and wish they had a place to play like I did.

 

Monday Music #9

 

Going back to the Mixed CD I mentioned in Monday Music #8, this is another really fun song. It’s called Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia) by Us3 and is a spin-off of Cantaloupe Island by Herbie Hancock. Recorded in 1993, it’s a Gold Record, meaning it sold over 500,000 copies. Hope you enjoy both songs!

 

Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia)

“The way I kick the rhyme some will call me a poet

Poem steady flowin’, growin’ showin’ sights and sounds

Caught in the groove in the tale I found”

 

 

Cantaloupe Island      (a long version)

 

 

 

 

 

Favorites

The prompt for PAD Day 16 was to write a “favorite” poem. I wrote this using a Bop poem format…

Favorites

What’s your favorite is a hard question
Who’s your favorite is loaded
Say green instead of yellow
Anytime, and no one cares
But if it’s political or familial
Look out and step lightly

I love, I like, I’m a fan

My favorite today may change
But doesn’t just blow with the wind
It grows and evolves
I am allowed to prefer
Southern rock over classical
There’s room in my spirit for both
I can love pie best
Without giving up cake

I love, I like, I’m a fan

The better question might be
What’s your favorite today?
Don’t answer to tickle the ears
Be honest and sidestep
If you must
For who doesn’t prefer peace?

I love, I like, I’m a fan

This reminded me of a portions of the lyrics of Murder in the City by the Avett Brothers.

…I wonder which brother is better
Which one our parents love the most
I sure did get in lots of trouble
They seem to let the other go

A tear fell from my father’s eyes
I wondered what my dad would say
He said I love you and I’m proud of you both
in so many different ways…

 

mebros

“Always remember there was nothing worth sharing

like the love that let us share our name.”