No Hard Feelingsby the Avett Brothers has been my solace for the past year, though at times I’ve had to skip it on my playlist because it almost always makes me cry. I lost my mother-in-law in August 2017, then my Mom in February 2018, and today my dog, Loretta. Yes, I understand there are huge differences in losing a pet vs. a person, but when one comes on the heels of the other it is just nearly too much.
The song begins “When my body won’t hold me anymore And it finally lets me free Will I be ready?”
I wasn’t ready to let any of them go, but in Loretta’s case, I think SHE was ready. She had a good life and enriched ours in so many ways.
Then “When my feet won’t walk another mile.”
My dog, Loretta, hit this point so suddenly last night I can’t wrap my head around it. She was fine and peppy one minute, then lethargic and unresponsive the next. She perked up once for a few minutes, a sort of last hurrah I guess, then just could hardly move. My husband carried her to our room where we’d made her a soft blanket “pallet” to lie on. We finally fell asleep, but both awoke at 2AM to sit on the floor beside her as she drew her last breath. I can only guess it was her heart giving out.
Listen to this song – more than once if you can. It is overflowing in meaning and may be a balm for YOUR spirit.
““… for music alone can abolish differences of language or culture between two people and evoke something indestructible within them.” – from Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky
St. Johns River 2014
I was introduced to the music of JJ Grey and Mofro, many years back by my daughter. I’ve only seen him in concert twice; once in concurrence with the Jacksonville Symphony (with my daughter) and then again in Birmingham (with my husband). On my many trips from Jacksonville to Tampa I’ve driven through Lochloosa and I always think of Grey’s love for Florida.
View from the Buckman Bridge – 2013
My father-in-law had a little trailer in Astor on the St. Johns River for many years. The pictures below are from a trip I took up the river with my brother-in-law and niece back in 2012. We went out to Lake George and stopped at Silver Glen Springs. It was one of the most relaxing days I’ve ever spent.
St. Johns River – 2012
St. Johns River – 2012
This song, The River, grips me every time I hear it. Growing up minutes from the St. Johns in Jacksonville, I never appreciated it like I do now. As a kid, it was just the river we crossed to get to downtown. Now I understand a little more about the vastness and beauty it contains. I long to get back to this river someday.
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.
“For the winds of the years have blown between us and the clouds of many storms have danced around us and it was said many times that we were parted, but distance matters not to friendship and there is no such thing as time.” (in a letter to his friend Cluster Baker)
This year I read Woody Guthrie: A Life by Joe Klein. I learned so much but not just about his life, one that was a combination of brilliance and mental illness, but also a lot of our country’s history. His son and his granddaughter followed in his musical footsteps. I hope you’ll take a listen to all three generations.
“Roll with it or get rolled over.” – Raven’s tattoo
I love the story behind this video and I really love the song. I am new to John Moreland, but this caused me to look up some more of his music. Take a listen to Slow Down Easy. And then watch the video below. Don’t cry…