Wednesday’s Theme Music

“Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me” by Elton John and Bernie Taupin was released in 1974. I’ve been hearing a live cover by George Michael, with Elton John as his guest (1991) at the coffee shop. Naturally, it ended up stuck in the stream, looping around a few times.

There are many memories associated with the song (like dances, kisses, and good-byes). It came out right after I graduated high school and went into the military, so it’s branded as part of that era, that transition from teenager living at home to adult on their own. As the Michael version came out during my final tour, it almost exactly bracketed my military career. Just a little coincidence, but one that ends up attaching sentiments to the song for me.

Snow Memories

As an adult, snow and I share a difficult relationship. Snow wants to do what it’ll do, and I prefer that it doesn’t disturb my routines. I think these things even knowing that snow is necessary for the snowpack that provides us water throughout the year (so go up in the mountains and snow heavy there, right?) and some of our local industries (like the ski lodge on Mount Ashland) depends on the snow.

But a day of blinding, fat flurries (like today — look out that window — how can you not?) always takes me back to snow memories, especially childish times. When I was a boy in school, seeing snow outside the windows was a harbinger of entertaining times like snowball fights, forts, and sledding. Snow diffused daylight, blending night and day into a special, secret zone of being. Snow muffled the sounds and tamped adult activities, leaving the world to us, the brave, the crazy, the children. Interruptions would arrive – cars stuck on hills, tires spinning in a whining hiss, vehicles with chains clanging past, snowplows grinding by, building new boundaries of small mountains alongside the roads.

Après outings were coming into a warm house where boots, mittens, and layers of frozen soaked clothes were shed. All had to be hung, put onto radiators or into dryers, depending on the era and house. Hot chocolate with marshmallows and cookies were offered, or tomato soup with grilled cheese sandwiches (white bread and American cheese, in those days) with a dill pickle.

Evening would come with a hesitant stillness, slipping in like it didn’t want to disturb the world. Books were read, drawings were completed, games played, television watched. Popcorn and fudge was made. The television was watched for news — would there be more snow? Will school be cancelled tomorrow? (Fingers crossed, breath held, eyes big as the news was awaited.) And more gazing out the window, at the amazing white world and the wonders of snow, were indulged.

Young and innocent, protected and secure, playful and happy. Everyone should enjoy such a life.

Thursday’s Theme Music

I was walking toward my writing location today, a coffee shop owned by others, yes, but it’s my usual place, and thinking about what I was going to write. Boom days have continued, which is always a pleasure. So I told myself to just keep chugging along.

Then I plugged that into an old standard, “I just keep chugging along, singing my song, side by side.” Well, naturally, that prompted me to remember the song, “Side By Side” into my stream. Coming out before my Mom was born, leave off me, it’s one of those songs that’ve been part of the national consciousness for decades. There’s no doubt that I know it from my mother singing it, sometimes to me, sometimes to herself, and sometimes as it played on the record player.

The song’s real lyrics vary from cover to cover, but travel is almost always used, not chug, and not plug, but I like to plug in chug and plug instead of travel. The lyrics often go, “We’ll travel along, singing our song, side by side.” Of course, it was just me and my muses, and no one else beside me when I chug along, unless you count my shadow.

But “Me and My Shadow” is another song altogether.

Here is Patsy Cline with her cover of the 1927 song, “Side By Side”.

Monday’s Theme Music

A beautiful sun warms a clear blue sky here in Ashland, southern Oregon, this morning. All is calm and serene. Into this streams a song by America, “Lonely People” (1974).

I’m fortunate to have family, but more, a writing process and endeavors which I enjoy, and a couple cats. Thanks to all this, I rarely have moments of feeling alone or isolated. But there are too many out there who are lonely people, even when they’re with friends and family, and more who are lonely, and alone, in isolation.

It’s them I think of this morning.

This is for all the lonely people
Thinking that life has passed them by
Don’t give up until you drink from the silver cup
And ride that highway in the sky

This is for all the single people
Thinking that love has left them dry
Don’t give up until you drink from the silver cup
You never know until you try

h/t to AZlyrics.com

 

Saturday’s Theme Music

I awoke with a Pearl Jam/Foreigner/Yes medley bubbling through my stream, with “Alive”, “Long, Long Way from Home”, and “Roundabout” dominating. With a mental throw of some imaginary dice, “Roundabout”, Yes’ 1972 hit, was selected.

Many fond memories are associated with “Roundabout” for me, and they’re mostly related to art. I loved painting and drawing when I was young, something that I continued to do into my late twenties, playing with paints and styles. I typically put music on, and then went to town. Regular favorites cropped up. In the early days, my music was on vinyl. I had an open reel system, so I recorded a painting tape. Multiple Yes songs made it to the tape. Looking back, I realize that progressive-rock and blues dominated it.

Alright, stop writing, Michael. Here’s “Roundabout”.

Tuesday’s Theme Music

Today’s song is a natural for the times. I started to add, IMO – in my opinion – but isn’t that redundant? This is my post, so it should be my opinion. Yet, I took the time to writesplain that to you.

Ten Years After released “I’d Love to Change the World” in 1971 as a response to the violence, protests, emerging counter-culture, resistant establishment, and war. Gosh, does any of that have any echos in today’s world? Naw, probably just me.

Like most of TYA’s offerings, the song features some powerful Alvin Lee guitar work, which is always good to hear. Beyond the rock essence of guitar and dream, these lyrics, and how they’re presented in the song, plaintive, accepting, and reflective, spoke to me as a fifteen-year-old when the song came out, but still talks to me as a sixty-three-year-old.

I’d love to change the world

But I don’t know what to do.

So I’ll leave it up to you.

I think most of us want to change the world. We also know what to do, but it’s an embattled, relentless, and exhausting process. It seems more so in the Internet era, where lies and bullshit gains instant traction and never seems to die, like the Terminator rising again and again.

So I’ll leave it up to you.

Fourteen

A beard and mustache like smudges on the face

long and thick brown hair pinned up to play baseball

faded bell-bottom blue jeans with a large hole in the rear

and no undies underneath

white high-top canvas shoes

hand-painted fluorescent orange

a worn white tee-shirt with a green marijuana leaf in the center of the chest

under by a torn military fatigue shirt signed by everyone met

worn open like a jacket

quoting Asimov, Clapton, Kirk, and Clemente

reading Leary, Chekov, Dumas, Tolkien, Heller, and Knowles

listening to the Stones, Humble Pie, Cream, Jimi, Janis, and Bob

dancing to Sly, Chicago, Three Dog Night, and EW&F

runnin’, walkin’ and bikin’ to go anywhere and everywhere

through any weather and across any terrain

That’s the fourteen-year-old that I remember.

Saturday’s Theme Music

After staggering out of bed and then using the bathroom, I started feeding the cats. “I Am the Walrus” by the Beatles from waaayyy back in 1968 when I was twelve, began streaming in my head. “I am the eggman — woo — they are the eggman — woo — I am the walrus. Goo goo g’ joob.”

WTH? Why? It’s another mind mystery, innit, a nonsense song in a nonsense world after some nonsense dreams. Guess it’ll work for a quiet summer day that seems like a warm autumn day, as though the seasons have been turned into a jigsaw puzzle that need to be assembled.

Listen to it. Let me know what you think. Goo goo g’ joob.

 

Unforgotten

Memories,

I make them now,

so far my brain hasn’t forgotten how.

Time shoots by in a quickening blast

and I recall with fondness a nebulous past.

Starry-eyed and glittery mind, I used to look ahead.

Now, sometimes, it’s wearying getting out of bed.

My oceans of thoughts seem dark but calm,

a prelude, or harbinger, of a once-remembered song.

I seek comfort, I seek reminders, I seek the past,

even though I know, like the future,

it never lasts.

 

 

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