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.

 

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Monday Music #10/Wonder #5

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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 it 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.

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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.”

 

 

Little Boy

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PAD Day 4 was to write a portrait poem. This one’s for E.

 

 

Little Boy

I know you like smoked cheddar,

but not that weird cheese, Ricotta

you know every Star Wars character

and superhero

but you didn’t know your great-grandpas

your cow-lick is untamable,

your curiosity insatiable

you are lanky and heavy footed

you love videos that are silly

and reading in bed

you have a wonderful laugh,

but it stays buried inside too often

when you sleep you sleep hard,

then you are up with the sun

you are the little boy

I will always love

 

 

Thanks for the Musical Inspiration, Garden & Gun

Garden & Gun  Magazine is a must have for southerners, whether born and bred here or transplanted. I find gems in every issue, from music to restaurants to places I want to visit. I even have a playlist on Spotify made just of music I discovered while perusing the pages of this one-of-a-kind publication.

Inspired by an article in the June/July issue, written by Julia Reed, titled Songs of Summer, I got to thinking about songs that stand out in my mind and the memories attached to them. This will just be a sampling through the decades, except I’ll probably skip from the 70s to the 90s. I was having babies in the 80s and just didn’t keep up with the music.

1960s

What came to mind first was “Leaving on a Jet Plane” by Peter, Paul and Mary. I didn’t realize until I looked it up that it was actually written by John Denver with the original title of “Babe, I Hate to Go”.  My memory comes from a late summer afternoon, riding in the back of my aunt and uncle’s station wagon with my cousins. I learned the song from my cousin Paula, and we were belting it out at the top of our lungs as we rode home from the public pool in Reidsville to their home in Glennville, Georgia. If I close my eyes I can feel the warm summer air blowing on my face, and hear the laughter.

An amusing song, one in which we didn’t get half the words right, was “Judy in Disguise (with glasses)” by Jon Fred & his Playboys. My little brother, when he was about three or four, would sing “Judy in the skies – na na na na…” For some reason it was great fun to egg him on to sing and dance.

JUDY IN DISGUISE (WITH GLASSES)

I can’t let the 60s go by without a Beatle’s shout out. My cousin, Anita (Paula’s sister, see above), used to play “Eleanor Rigby” on the piano upstairs in the playroom of their house. It was an eerie and intriguing song to me, back in an innocent time of my childhood.

 

1970s

Fast forward to my senior year of high school and the disco era. There are just too many songs to mention, but some of my favorites were from KC & the Sunshine band, especially “Boogie Shoes” and “Get Down Tonight”. It was a huge thrill to see them perform live at Disney during Grad Night, 1976. Back then there was a dress code for us seniors and I felt especially cool in my pantsuit, rocking out in the crowd in front of the castle.

BOOGIE SHOES

This next song is also on Reed’s list: “Muskrat Love” by Captain and Tennille. This came on my radar in 1977. My college roommate, Donna, was in love with Tony, and this was “their song”. They were a lot like Muskrat Susie and Muskrat Sam. She always kept that youthful silliness and I miss her – she passed away a few years ago.

MUSKRAT LOVE

My last 70s mention is “Brickhouse” by The Commodores. Every time I hear this I go back to my first year at Georgia Southern (then College; now University) where I joined the Chi Omega Sorority and this was like our theme song. I always think of Paula Ferguson and a bunch of us dancing to this over and over, though none of us were 36-24-26.

BRICKHOUSE

 

One’s Native Place

visitjacksonville.com

photo-visitjacksonville.com

 

Nothing is as fine as one’s native place – from A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry

I wasn’t born in Jacksonville, but I’m claiming  this definition from Merriam-Webster: Native – living or growing naturally in a particular region.

I moved to Jacksonville three months shy of my seventh birthday and lived there off and on for 33 of the next 49 years. I lived and grew there; I was shaped by the influences of family and community.

I long to return, though so much has changed and so many of those I love are gone. Though I’ve lived in two other states and different towns along the way, none of them feel like home. Home is where you share childhood stories and you can reminisce with those who get what you mean. I know that in so many ways ‘you can’t go home again’ is true. But if I can’t go home, where will I go?