Thanksgiving Weekend – a time to remember family and friends who have blessed our lives. I have tunes that immediately conjure people I’ve loved … they pop up on the radio or my iTunes playlist and I find myself stopping whatever I’m doing … to spend a few short minutes in that ‘netherworld’ … By pressing ‘Play’ on the media player just above this paragraph you can take a tour of the songs and people I’m remembering today.
When Loggins and Messina’s album, The Best of Friends, shows up it takes me right back to high school. To those bittersweet and yet exhilarating days when team practices and games were high on my priority list – and good chums were vital to my daily happiness.
My two best friends were both Jo-Ann/Joanne’s. We played basketball, volleyball and soccer together – worked summer hours together – camped, skied, biked and hiked every chance we got. It seemed our lives would never take us apart – we’d be senior citizen sports champions together … These two gave me the gift of loving the outdoors.
Nat King Cole’s “Unforgettable” puts me in a car with my Uncle John – our family’s ‘Music Man’. John could sing – beautifully – and knew the words to any song we could toss at him. He traveled a lot with his job – long before cell phones – but well within the days of 8 track and cassette tapes. That meant he hummed and sang his way across the country … As a youngster I was both aghast and titillated when he would try to ‘speed up’ the organist in our little church by singing the Christmas hymns faster than she was playing in his big booming voice. He had the largest music collection I have ever seen. He gave me the gift of music baths.
When I hear Appalachian Spring by Aaron Copland I think of Inie. I first met Inie and Peter in my second year of teaching – a long time ago. They epitomized what I discovered was the richness of spirit in this ‘North of 7’ community that I’ve so grown to love. Inie was bigger than life and yet solidly planted with both feet on the ground. She taught me to let go of fear – fears that my illness would forever rob me of the life I had planned – fears that being ‘different’ was the same as ‘not worthy’. She showed me that there was a lot of living to do between heartbeats – a lifetime in fact.
Josh Grobin’s “You Raise Me Up” brings me to my Aunt Jean’s living room. John has been gone for a number of years and she and I are listening to some of the tapes and CD’s I’ve brought up from his music room. Jean mentions that she has a new CD she likes to listen to and hands it to me. As we hear the first tune playing she explains that she waits for her favourite … She didn’t know that you could select a track on a CD … thought you had to listen to the songs in order with no way to control that. She really got laughing when I showed her how to move ahead or select a tune. She’d been using a CD player for a few years and hadn’t discovered that! Jean gave me a second chance at being a ‘daughter’. She taught me love and acceptance … she taught me to be comfortable sitting, chatting, traveling, visiting, cooking … just being together. My time with Jean gave me a whole new confidence in my right to follow my own path through this life.
“Song for a Winter’s Night” by Sarah McLauchlan has the ability to pull my heartstrings. We all know that at some point our parents are going to pass out of this life without us … but it seems that no matter the age … or the preparation you think you are getting through illness or frailty … their departure is a shock. My parents have been gone for six and eight years now and I’ve settled most of my angst about their deaths. However, when the lyrics “I would be happy just to hold the hands I love…” float through my world they go directly to my heart and paint the image of my father’s hands … Those hands built doll houses and baby cribs for my tiny ones. They built homemade water skis and fixed skidos, boats and dirt bikes for me to ride. They held mine when he was sad and lonely after my mom was gone. I miss those hands …
Jim Croce’s “Time in a Bottle” brings me here – home – where Ede and I get to live out our days as contented hermits. I’m blessed to know the love of my family – human and animal – and the delicious opportunity to renew the blend of my passions and pastimes. I send you fond wishes for a happy Thanksgiving weekend ~ from our family to yours.