1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, History, Kerry's Causes, Memoir and Reflections, RIP, Shows and Events, The Insightful Wanderer, Travel, TToT

TToT: Memory Use and the Overall System Footprint – Call and Response, #InternationalDayOfPeace #Graceland #10Thankful

It was a slow day And the sun was beating On the soldiers by the side of the road There was a bright light A shattering of shop windows The bomb in the baby carriage Was wired to the radio

These are the days of miracle and wonder This is the long distance call The way the camera follows us in slo-mo The way we look to us all

The way we look to a distant constellation That’s dying in a corner of the sky These are the days of miracle and wonder And don’t cry baby, don’t cry Don’t cry

It was a dry wind And it swept across the desert And it curled into the circle of birth And the dead sand Falling on the children The mothers and the fathers And the automatic earth

“The Boy in the Bubble” discusses starvation and terrorism, but mixes this with wit and optimism. Simon concurred with this assessment: “Hope and dread – that’s right. That’s the way I see the world, a balance between the two, but coming down on the side of hope.”

Hope and dread. Hope and dread. Hope and dread. These things run through my head…my head…my head.

My nephew is learning so many new things at school, even already after his first few weeks.

How do I know this?

The other night at dinner he started asking about carrots and how they grow, in the earth, from seeds. Such a basic concept of a lovely natural process.

Seeds planted. Something growing, sprouting up, from once there was only dirt under foot.

I am thankful for all the time I got to spend with my aunt.

Her life is a mystery to me. I get stuck on trying to imagine it. I only knew her for the last few decades of her life.

She was my father’s half sister. She was born in Europe during World War II. She came here to Canada, all by herself. I will forever wonder about all that.

The last time I saw her, as herself, she had made the trip to her mother’s funeral. We didn’t think she would come, for several reasons, but she came and I was nervous to give my tribute to my oma, whose relationship with her daughter was different from ours.

I hugged my aunt, after a day at the graveside, and an evening reminiscing about the life Oma lived, all of us sitting on the deck, around a table. I hugged her and left.

The next time she would have faced tumour treatments, her brain badly effected. She clung to me, our last real moment of contact, and one more familial thread is lost..

Without my parents making a decision to introduce us, I would never have known her mighty spirit.

I am thankful for the light chatter of young voices on a hard day of reality confronted.

On the night we received the news, I heard a one-year-old playing lovingly with her doll (all thanks to WhatsApp) and I interrupted a family in the middle of their beloved spaghetti dinner.

I needed to hear these little people, to remember that there are beginnings as well as those endings we wish would never come.

Na na na na na na na na Max Man!

🙂

Thanks to speaker phone, we discussed colours, what we want to be when we grow up, and what our favourite foods are.

I sat back, listening to my niece describe all manner of shades of many many colours. I needed that just then.

I am thankful for a world attempting to live more peacefully.

Justin Trudeau spoke about what “Canada has gotten right, not perfect.” That we believe diversity brings us strength to fight hatred and violence.

With all the meetings of UN in New York through the week, I listened to several speeches, President Obama and Prime Minister Trudeau in particular. All still so complicated. Peace exists in pockets. I just happen to live in one of those at the moment. No guarantee it will always be that way.

I am thankful for another educational Ken Burns PBS documentary.

I was unaware of the story of this couple.

I am thankful for a room full of writers

I had a question about writing, about the writing journey we’re all on, and I thought who better to bring it to than that select group of people. They are just learning as they go along, just like me, and I wanted their take on a particular situation I’ve gotten myself into.

Their input did not totally squelch my concerns, but we did have a lively discussion about writing contests and when a scam is a scam. I did not want to bring down the other writer in the group to have received good news like myself. He may choose to go a different way with it, but I am still undecided. We all want our writing to have a chance out there in the wider world.

I am thankful for light in the depths.

Edith Widder: the weird, wonderful world of bioluminescence – TED

This sort of thing is not visible to me anymore as such, but just hearing this scientist’s enthusiasm made me believe in the hope of all that magic to be found, especially in the ocean.

I am thankful for the perfect autumn weather.

Thursday was nearly thirty degrees. It was humid but yet there was a coolish breeze, enough to make a meal out on a patio still rather lovely. Yep, there was at least one bee this time, but not on me. Not that I knew of anyway.

I wasn’t having a great week. I was feeling unwell and having more computer troubles. I wanted the first day of fall to feel like fall.

By Friday the temperature had dropped ten degrees or more. I was in Heaven. Fall had arrived.

I am thankful for speedy and readily available medical care for myself and for those I love.

I felt lousy, but I needed blood taken and tested. I got it. Results available online now and oh how far we’ve come, to be able to check our own blood levels, without having to ask any doctor.

Then my family needs treatment for chronic medical conditions, tests run to check out symptoms, diabetes, and diet changes are called for. Hopefully those I love can remain healthy and live for a long time still.

I am thankful for a lovely day on the go.

It began at a secondhand store. Not exactly my kind of place, as I have a strange aversion to old, used things. I am also drawn to their stories. My sister was shopping for maternity clothes, not as easy as it sounds.

We kept my nephew occupied in the halloween decorations section, specifically interested in a doorbell with an eye that opened and and a voice that cackled.

We had lunch at a “pizza store” as my four-year-old nephew refers to it. All you can eat, but still we ate thin crust pizza, to stick, as close as we possibly can, to our diets and health restrictions.

Then I had my violin lesson. Brahms’ lullaby, played for me on piano and violin, so hopefully I can master the entire song by next March.

I went, with my brother and a few people, to attend a bit of speaking about video game production and radio.

A Journal Of Musical Things

This guy, the one with the website, he has been on a Toronto radio station for years. My brother listened to his radio programs. We heard he was visiting and we decided to go and listen to what he had to say.

Finally, we walked downtown, a Beatles festival happening, and capped off the day with a relaxing glass of wine and delicious dessert on a patio and then a cup of coffee, latte, before I felt a sore throat coming on dampen my mood. Nothing could truly dampen my first Saturday of fall.

I am thankful for an album, which becomes an experience in itself.

This album was brought back to my attention, but this week it has great value, in its overall feeling of hope and peace.

It is a magical record, full of the voice of Paul Simon, but yet with a distinctly African tone. Anyone who has never heard it has been missing out.

These days albums in their entirety are all but extinct. Songs that stand alone are what gets the public’s attention. This album, named for a tourist attraction, a musical and cultural icon of a place, a spiritual experience for some, that is what this album is for me.

It’s a collection of songs, taking me on travels, experiences of sorts, to a place called Africa, where my young self couldn’t imagine. This album was playing in our house, thanks to my father, and this can clearly be heard on an old home movie when I was three.

There was the almost mystical affection and strange familiarity I felt when I first heard South African music. Later, there was the visceral thrill of collaborating with South African musicians onstage. Add to this potent mix the new friendships I made with my band mates, and the experience becomes one of the most vital in my life. block quote level 1block quote level 1

Graceland – Album By Paul Simon (1986)

I did not want to visit Graceland, the home of Elvis Presley, so much as I wanted to learn about South Africa, about the troubles and the ruining of lives Apartheid caused, when I was too young to realize, when the concept of black and white wasn’t something I thought anything about. Now I think about it often. No superiority. No ranking of human life.

What was unusual about Graceland is that it was on the surface apolitical, but what it represented was the essence of the antiapartheid in that it was a collaboration between blacks and whites to make music that people everywhere enjoyed. It was completely the opposite from what the apartheid regime said, which is that one group of people were inferior. Here, there were no inferiors or superiors, just an acknowledgement of everybody’s work as a musician. It was a powerful statement. block quote level 1block quote level 1

Graceland transcended racial and cultural barriers. ” Graceland was never just a collection of songs, after all; it was a bridge between cultures, genres and continents, not to mention a global launching pad for the musicians whose popularity been suppressed under South Africa’s white-run apartheid rule,” said Andrew Leahey of
American Song Writer.

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Memoir and Reflections, Poetry, Special Occasions, Writing

Sherry Baby

Two songs in particular come to mind with Sherry in the title and written about a girl just like my friend: “Sherry Baby” by Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons and “Oh Sherry” by Steve Perry. There are very few people I’ve known who stick out in my mind like this particular bride. There are a few girls I have known who have seemed free to me, free spirits who were always attracting people to them with their bright sparkling personalities. This bride always seemed like this, almost like a female super hero who could take on the world and did.

This was unlike any other wedding I had ever attended, a good thing for sure. The real thing was done at City Hall, but a small gathering of family and friends were invited to help celebrate the happy couple, a real life love story to my wild imagination and literary mind. I was lucky to be one of these select few.

I grew up just outside of a small subdivision and, as a child, I was constantly looking in on this place, just up the road. I went to school with the kids here and became friends with many of them. I suppose it wasn’t much different for them than it was for my sister and brother. They pretty much grew up with me, having a blind girl in their class from the very beginning, unlike the kids I would meet at the school we would go on to attend later on. These kids knew me and accepted me, almost from the beginning.

I was never lacking in a friend or two for very long, a bit of a rarity for visually impaired kids in their neighbourhood schools. Many had trouble adjusting and socializing, not meeting and making friends easily. I would meet many of these kids and we would go on to become good friends.

This subdivision had a general store, a baseball diamond, a church, and a grammar school – a perfect start to introduce me to school and socializing. Sherry was one of these good friends. We started going to school together in kindergarten, but it was first grade when we started spending any real time together.

I found myself, the other night, sitting at a table and reminiscing with several of these children, all grown up now. There were inside jokes and old stories, lots of laughs and I felt a nostalgia I couldn’t quite put my finger on – a past long gone now and a simpler time. I was lucky enough to sit in on this remembering and, all those years ago now, on the lives of these people. I would go over to one of their houses and inevitably their neighbours would be other kids we went to school with. We would all play together.

The bride grew up with boys all around her. She had no sisters and her next door neighbours were a family of only boys. She always played with the boys and became one of the boys. I and some of the other girls at school were happy to fill that void; I was lucky. I witnessed and was just happy to tag along, to look in on the many adventures rehashed at that table the other night.

We’re all grown up now of course, but some things never really change. Sometimes the more things change the more they remain the same. Sure, there has been years of education, marriages have taken place, and babies are now the order of the day, but these people are all the same friends and classmates I once knew, including Sherry. We are adults and that’s hard to believe when I looked back on all the time spent with these people when we were just children.

I was honoured to receive a personal invite to this particular wedding celebration. I recently reconnected with Sherry over our love of writing. I looked to her, respecting her views and opinions, to read over the novel I started last fall. She provided essential feedback and a boost of inspiration and motivation. I find inspiration through witnessing her unique brand of creativity. Our little gathering, a dinner after Christmas, allowed us to get to know each other again, just a little. So many years passed and she had found her partner in crime. They make beautiful music together and are taking on the world together.

Listening to her speech I heard her say so much, but it was in her personal choice of every song her guests listened or danced to that I learned the most and felt the most about who Sherry was now and what this all meant to her. This was the soundtrack of her life and future with her husband. All the years we lost touch I could feel being filled in by listening to the songs she chose. Every song had personal and private meaning to her and I could relate with this more than anything because I would want to do the exact same thing. Music, memories, and love are so intertwined to someone as creative and artistic as Sherry and to me as well.

She’d hand-picked every guest in attendance and every song to be played over the evening. Rumour has it she spent ten hours making up the song list and proud of it (her new husband thinking her a little crazy and loving her for it I’m sure), choosing carefully each and every song for its meaning and dedicating specific songs for specific people. Even I got a song. I was touched to hear of the Lana Del Ray she dedicated to me. The music was different from that played at the usual wedding reception with its hired DJ (no Macarena to be heard). The music ranged from 50s and 60s rock and roll to 90s rap: The Beach Boys, The Beatles, Elvis, Frankie Valli, David Bowie, Neil Young, and Paul Simon. Then there was some Lauren Hill, and a little Gangster’s Paradise by Coolio thrown in there for good measure and Onto the most famous artists of today such as Lorde. Everywhere around me there was plenty of laughter, talk and dancing and I felt at home.

This was a wedding celebration of uniqueness, just like the bride herself. It was full of personality, just like the bride. It felt intimate and fun, fun like she always was. In inviting me to her celebration she did more than she could possibly realize. Listening and witnessing the love she has found and seeing all those people who love and care about her there to celebrate this love I felt better than I had in months. She gave me hope and showed me that love does exist and that when it’s right you know it.

Sherry Baby, Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons

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