Not long after our December wedding, I acquired two heart-shaped metal pans, perfectly sized for use in baking a suitable Valentine’s cake for my Beloved. (Though we were relatively broke, I justified the purchase … the cost of a new card every Valentine’s Day over our lifetime together would add up, but these baking pans could be used over and over, every single year!)
As the number of our shared Valentine’s Days now edges ever-closer to fifty, our focus swerves beyond the traditional declarations of heart-shaped love. Few store-bought cards and still fewer cakes have surfaced because the occasional hastily-written love poem or hand-drawn note represents a sweeter treasure. Continue reading “Care Bear”→
One of the singers from the 60s was a guy named James Darren. I first remember him from his role as a teen idol on The Donna Reed Show. He was more than a musician though as he enjoyed a varied career on television and in films. His biggest hit on the pop charts was a 1961 song called Goodbye Cruel World.
Written in 1975 by Don Henley and Glenn Frey of the Eagles, the song Lyin’ Eyes was nominated for Record of the Year. In concerts following the song’s release, Henley and Frey shared that the song originated when they witnessed a curious encounter in an LA bar. They imagined the scene as an illicit love affair between the man and woman; soon after, the song was born.Lyrics from the song came to mind today as I was mulling over revelations about Rachel Dolezal, a prominent civil rights activist and current president of the NAACP in Spokane, Washington. Though most of the song’s lyrics refer to a bar romance, the verse shown below could apply to almost any entanglement in which a woman might find herself.
She wonders how it ever got this crazy … She thinks about a boy she knew in school. Did she get tired, or did she just get lazy? She’s so far gone she feels just like a fool.
In case you’re unaware of the predicament of Rachel Dolezal, you’ll find here and here two articles that fill in the details. Perhaps neither Frey nor Henley could have imagined their lyrics might be tied to such a tangled tale! Continue reading “Lyin’ Eyes”→
Ever since we first viewed the 2007 film Bella, I’ve paid attention to Eduardo Verástegui and the projects with which he’s been involved. Bella tells the story of an international soccer star (José played by Verástegui) whose life takes a sharp turn that abruptly ends the man’s career. As the movie begins, he’s working as a cook in a restaurant.Lest I ruin the pleasure you’d have in watching this film, I won’t provide more details. It is well worth viewing. The movie earned multiple awards and honors, and though it didn’t fare well in reviews from Rotten Tomatoes, audiences liked it well enough to reward the film with RT’s Golden Tomato award. Continue reading “Not A Sour Note”→
For as long as I can remember, music has been an integral part of my life. Two other posts in this space (here and here) offer some background. Because I’m also a product of the 1960s, there’s a certain genre of music that shaped my life just as it shaped the lives of most in my baby-boomer generation.One of the things I love about YouTube is the availability of so many tunes from the 60s era. Somewhere in storage, we have an ancient record player/changer as well as a stack of long-play albums that we probably haven’t played in at least twenty years … probably longer! We’re unlikely to ever play the albums again (assuming the record player actually still worked) but disposing of the records won’t happen either. (Feel sorry for our heirs!) Continue reading “Back To The 60s Again”→
Shortly after we returned to Arkansas in 1977 (with two small children in tow), my Beloved and I both considered taking occasional classes (at our nearby alma mater or at the University of Arkansas which was closer at hand). One of my ambitions was to enroll in poetry classes taught by the esteemed professor and poet Miller Williams. With the death of Williams on Thursday, January 1st, that ambition will remain unrealized.
As someone who knew Miller Williams only through his poetry, my perpetual foot-dragging (to enroll in classes) had as much to do with his august standing as with my doubts I could possibly deserve a place as one of his poetry students. Surely his cream-of-the-crop students were way more erudite and accomplished. I had no illusions about whether I belonged; I was certain I did not.
Being brutally honest here, I also wasn’t sure how I’d respond when submitting my creations for his evaluation. Maybe Professor Williams and/or his students would read one of my poems … and laugh. So, foot-drag I did and where there was once potential (to take a Williams-taught poetry class), that potential evaporated. (He actually hasn’t taught for several years, having suffered more recently from Alzheimer’s.) Continue reading “Would You Go Back?”→
A number of years ago when my parents traveled in Germany, they sent a gift of a cuckoo clock back to the States for me. Having grown up in a home with a cuckoo clock, I have always loved them! My Beloved … not so much, but like many of my idiosyncrasies, he tolerates them because he loves me. Wherever we’ve lived, I’ve positioned the cuckoo clock – in deference to him – on a wall far enough away that its twice-hourly soundings don’t wake him at night.
In the years since our clock was initially delivered, it has suffered occasional mistreatment as well as the expected insults of old age. (Almost immediately upon arrival, one of the deer antlers at the top was broken and had to be glued.) Pulling the chains to raise the weights is necessary to keep the clock running, but children who watch this being done tend to follow suit and frequently yank too hard. As a result, the clock has required several trips to the clock-maker for repairs.
When I was a kid, the cuckoo in our home had two weights hanging from chains – one to regulate the pendulum, the other to turn the gears (behind the face) that move the hands forward and trigger the cuckoo’s action. It was a relatively small clock but sweet-sounding. I remember many a night in childhood hearing that clock sound as I lay abed. Continue reading “Time In A Bottle”→
Traditional Christmas carols have an enduring history. Some are more than a hundred years old. As for the remainder of Christmas music, the songs often don’t enjoy a consistent following or annual play. Achieving Favorite status is a less likely long shot.
When composer David Foster released his 1990 song Grown-Up Christmas List, the song wasn’t a hit … even though it featured Natalie Cole’s mellifluent vocal delivery. (If you click on the link, don’t be distracted by the subtitles.)
It wasn’t until a couple years later – when Amy Grant recorded a Christmas album including the Foster song – that the song earned greater attention. Grant reworked lyrics and added another verse. Her album producer promoted the song as a single to enhance sales of her full-length album and the song received considerable air play.
On occasion, I need to be talked down from the ledge. Today was one of those days. It looked to be a good day for putting up Christmas decorations. (What’s the rush, you ask? I felt the same way, but the house was empty for once and I had an hour to spare.) I turned on the Christmas music and started carrying things out of the attic.
The pre-lit Christmas tree I purchased a couple years back comes in three pieces plus a stand. In order to store this decoration in the attic, it must be taken apart. Against my better judgment, I disassembled it for storing. Now, the various plugs connecting the three pieces that lead to one main plug are a dreadful, impossible muddle.
Because this is the Season of Advent, some people might find it unusual for me to write about a completely different pivotal moment in Jesus’ life … the Cross. Yes, we celebrate the birth of Christ with gift-giving, acknowledging the extraordinary Gift of God coming to earth in the form of a man who was “tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.”
But it’s also true that the Little Baby born in the Manger grew up, and from the minute He was born, we know the arc of His life led to the Cross where He would be crucified. Simply put, that was God’s plan. There’s this inextricable connection between the Christmas Child’s birthday and the events we know and celebrate as Easter or Resurrection Day. Continue reading “A Hill Far Away”→