This Song – Not Just for July 4th

Last October Chuck and I waited excitedly for our copy of Closer Than Together on vinyl to arrive. I’d heard a few songs ahead of time, others were brand new the first time we listened. Some songs took a while to grow on me, but I came to love them all, with New Woman’s World being the exception. But, a few packed a real punch. Like We Americans. The more I listened, the more I loved it. A few weeks after our record arrived, we got to hear it sung in concert (and sing along)  in Pelham, Alabama. It was powerful.

The music of the Avett Brothers makes me happy and sad all at once. It will forever be their music that brings me back to these last few years Chuck and I had together.

Say Love

Except for that pesky virus…

Hurricane  Andrew

from Los Angeles Times

 

August, 1992, was when we moved from Orange Park to Lake Wales, Florida. The  second week there our youngest celebrated her third birthday. Then south Florida was hit by Hurricane Andrew. Though it was south of us, it was frightening watching it unfold on the news, tracking its path, just in case. Which is what we always do in Florida.

 

“Except for that pesky hurricane, Andrew, the summer of 1992 was magic.” – Rick Bragg

 

Today we are once again watching a story unfold that is bigger in scope than the hurricane. It sometimes seems distant, this coronavirus, but not for long. Most times it seems like it’s at our doorstep. But, we couldn’t stop the hurricane, or all the other hurricanes, so we just prepared the best we could. Same as today.

In 2004, we hunkered down with our newlywed son and his bride when Charley came barreling toward us. This time it was one day before that youngest daughter’s birthday. And the same day our older daughter arrived home from overseas, landing in Orlando in the midst of the chaos.

That was the year that three hurricanes crossed over our home in Winter Haven. Charley – Frances – Jeanne.  Ivan also hit Florida north of us.

I don’t really know what point I’m making here except that I am grateful God has brought us through all these storms. I am praying he will bring my family safely through this current storm. I want to be able say, like Rick Bragg, that except for that pesky virus, the spring of 2020 was magic.

 

Avetts in October #25: Today’s the Day

redwoods

Redwoods- 2018

Today is The Avett Brothers concert in Pelham, Alabama. As hard as it is to listen to sometimes, I sure hope they play No Hard Feelings.

 

“Why does it seem so often to be a human quality to forget those who have done good things for us, and to remember those who have hurt us?” – from Sold Into Egypt by Madeleine L’Engle

 

“Even as a tiny girl, she would just absorb the meanness of people around her, and as that strange girl slapped her,  Margaret literally turned the other cheek. ‘I just took it,’ she said sixty years later. ” – from Ava’s Man by Rick Bragg

 

Avetts in October #19: Winter In My Heart

IMG_6679

Asheville, 2009

 

In anticipation of The Avett Brothers concert on October 25th, I’ve been writing  a series of blog posts connecting some of their lyrics to words of some of my favorite authors.

I’d tell myself to stop judging others. And then thirty seconds later, I’d do it again. This, I realized, is why I don’t like going to crowded parks. It’s not just that I don’t like all the other people. I don’t like the person I become.  – Lassoing the Sun – Mark Woods

I think there are times for many of us that we don’t care for the person we’ve become. There can be many reasons, such as  grief, loneliness, stress, or other reasons, that cause us to act like someone that we wouldn’t want to be friends with.  In Winter In My Heart, I feel the sadness and helplessness. I’ve been there. And the line, “I don’t know what the reasons are” is gripping. But, winter is a season, though it can sometimes a long one.

 

It must be winter in my heart

There’s nothing warm in there at all

I missed the summer and the spring

The floating yellow leaves of fall

 

 

Avetts in October #18: I and Love and You

In talking about  how we act toward survivors when someone dies, Madeleine L’Engle said,

“What is there to say? Only, ‘I love you, and I care,’ and sometimes we are afraid to say even that.”

The Avetts have a song about telling someone you love them. I’ve mentioned it before and posted a video, but I think the version below is my favorite.

Three words that became hard to say

I and love and you

 

 

Avetts in October #10: Sadness

AvettTrueSadness

wikipedia

In anticipation of The Avett Brothers concert on October 25th, I am writing a series of blog posts connecting some of their lyrics to words of some of my favorite authors.

 

It seemed so unfair: that time should render both sadness and happiness into a source of pain.  –  from A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry

 

He’d smile at them across that distance, and the smile was sad and hard, and it meant estrangement, even when he was with them. – from Home by Marilynne Robinson

 

I never know quite how to describe the music of the Avetts. True Sadness seems an odd album title, but actually it’s pretty perfect. It was the first TAB album we purchased. I didn’t know it had been nominated for Best Americana Album. It’s also referred to as folk and alternative country. It’s all that and more. It’s hope.

 

‘Cause I still wake up shaken by dreams

And I hate to say it but the way it seems

Is that no one is fine

Take the time to peel a few layers and you will find

True sadness

 

 

 

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

 

Soapbox #1

soapbox-615x381

Pic via Mark Tinson Music

 

Definition:

soap·box
ˈsōpˌbäks/
noun
noun: soap-box
  • a box or crate used as a makeshift stand by a public speaker
  • a thing that provides an opportunity for someone to air their views publicly.

I suppose, in a way, my whole blog is my soapbox. Today I will address  a racism that still seems to be overlooked by most, and that is the treatment of the Naive Americans in our country. I was taken aback when I read this about L. Frank Baum, the author made famous for writing The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

 

Frank Baum called for total extermination of the Indians.

 

“Why not annihilation? Their glory has fled, their spirit broken, their manhood effaced; better that they die than live the miserable wretches that they are.” – Aberdeen Saturday Pioneer, December 20, 1890

I first read this in Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser. Then I fired up my google skills to double check the information. 

In another editorial he said,

 

“The Pioneer has before declared that our only safety depends upon the total extirmination [sic] of the Indians. Having wronged them for centuries we had better, in order to protect our civilization, follow it up by one more wrong and wipe these untamed and untamable creatures from the face of the earth. In this lies safety for our settlers and the soldiers who are under incompetent commands. Otherwise, we may expect future years to be as full of trouble with the redskins as those have been in the past.

An eastern contemporary, with a grain of wisdom in its wit, says that “when the whites win a fight, it is a victory, and when the Indians win it, it is a massacre.”  – Aberdeen Saturday Pioneer, January 3, 1891

In reading further, I found that in 2006, two descendants of Baum apologized to the Sioux nation for any hurt that their ancestor had caused. Well, that was a start.

The mistreatment of minorities in our country is a reproach to the American name.  To my shame I know so little of our history in relation to the Indians. But, I’m learning.

 

Make Your Own Music

 

“Make your own music. Write your own songs about the things you care about.” – Pete Seeger

I’m still an Avett Brothers novice, but this is exactly what they do. They write what they care about. And the thing is, it’s what a lot of other people care about, too.

For example:

I And Love And You

…One foot in and one foot back
But it don’t pay to live like that
So I cut the ties and I jumped the tracks
For never to return…

When at first I learned to speak
I used all my words to fight
With him and her and you and me
Oh but it’s just a waste of time
Yeah it’s such a waste of time…

…Three words that became hard to say
I and love and you

 

Wait Silently

irr

To look for community instead of cocktail-party relationships is part of choosing sides in the vast, strange battle. To say, “I’m sorry”; to be silent; to say “I love you,” “I care.” It is these little things that are going to make the difference. For God chooses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, the weak to overthrow the strong.

– The Irrational Season (1977) by Madeleine L’Engle

 

I’ve written about this before, I’m sure; I am writing to myself again. I long for community, real and true. I think I’m settling for cocktail-party relationships via social media. I see the words “I love you”, “I care” “praying” all over facebook, but what does it really mean? Is it so others can see you are so concerned? To do so in person is another kettle of fish all together.

 

It is not easy to say I’m sorry, especially I’m sorry without a but after it. However, it’s often too easy to say I love you  – love ya – as an alternate to see ya later. Said too easily and it loses its meaning. Saying I care may be harder; harder still to show you care in a tangible may.

 

But the hardest may be to be silent. Silent when you want to scream or cry or yell or explain or accuse or complain.

 

My soul, wait silently for God alone, For my expectation is from Him. – Psalm 62:5

 

Help me, LORD, to be silent. To show love and care.  To pray.