Hello, it’s December
the month after November
just a few months removed from September
do you see where this is going?
Hello, it’s a new day
are you gonna do a new way
or are you just gonna stay
with the hand that you’ve been playing?
Hello, it’s a new time
but I can’t find another rhyme
to carry on this theme of mine
so I guess that I’ll be endng.
It’s Thanksgiving in the United States today, a holiday imbued with myths and traditions, and many memories for someone like me.
I have some wonderful Thanksgiving memories. Mom worked hard to make holidays a success — except Mother’s Day (yeah, d’uh, she took the day off, didn’t she?) — and Thanksgiving was always terrific at her house. Later, in the military, my wife took on the same role. Overseas, she coordinated and orchestrated Thanksgiving dinner among several families, and we always invited the single people to come over so they felt less alone.
I benefited from that, too. My Uncle and his family had me over for Thanksgiving when I was in basic training, saving me from a chowhall dinner. I had a great time with them. There were other Thanksgivings with co-workers’ families a few times when I was stationed overseas on temporary unaccompanied duty, like the time with Tony’s family in the Philippines. There were also a couple chowhall Thanksgivings, though.
All that brought the Alan Parsons Project song, “Time” (1981). It came out the year that we reported for duty in Germany. We lived off based that first year, and it was one of the times when it was just my wife and I. It was still memorable.
Why “Time”? Because of the lines, “But time keeps flowing like a river, to the sea.”
Yep, although it does make me think, there’s a sea of time out there, somewhere.
Today’s song arrived in the stream last night when I was thinking about change. Deliberate and focused change for people is often hard for all the elements of comfort and routine that our habits incorporate. It’s easier to do as we’ve always do rather than embracing a new way. These change require time, mindfulness, discipline, and persistence to see them through.
Thinking along those line as I walked through the back yard introduced the song, “Tulsa Time” by Don Williams (1978). It’s a country and western song, not generally my milieu, but I’ve lived in places back that catered to country and western music tastes, heard it, and picked it up. Then Eric Clapton did a few live versions of it.
I was amused but reflecting on the song, I conclude that “Tulsa Time” was a metaphor for trying and failing to change.
Well, then I got to thinkin’
Man I’m really sinkin’
An I really had a flash this time
I had no business leavin’
An nobody would be grievin’
If I just went on back to Tulsa time.
See? You’re trying to change; no one else knows. Who cares if you go back to what you were doing and how you were doing it? It was your choice.
That’s right; you’re in the driver’s seat.
I enjoyed this live version discovered this morning. Hope you do, too.
Yesterday, someone said, “I waste too much time. Every night, I think of the things that I wanted to do that I didn’t do, and think of the time that I wasted.”
I didn’t agree or disagree. I understand what’s he saying. When he said he was wasting time, he meant that he’d planned to accomplish things that day and didn’t. He did other things instead. In answer to my question about that, he said, “Read, watched the news, read more, ate and drank beer.” He laughed.
Was it really wasted time? No, just not time used as planned. But people get the sense they’re running out of time. They’re coming up on deadlines, end of life, a new week, month, or season.
I’ve drifted away from that. Part of my drift is because so much of what’s on our lists are impermanent matters given amplified importance. You got to sort through these things and decide what’s really important, and what’s just being driven by the ghosts of the past called tradition, or the demons of expectations.
Meanwhile, the conversation naturally kicked a song into the stream. Several, in fact. One that surprised me leaped in from 1972 and an album called Eat A Peach, when I was sixteen. That Allman Brothers album, released after Duane Allman’s death, had a lock in my playlist for over a year, joining another Allman Brothers favorite, At Fillmore East, a double live album.
The song that jumped out was, “Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More”. It really came, again, as I stepped out and called in a cat last night. I looked up for the stars. The cat was right there, but clouds obscured the stars. From there came the song’s lines,
Lord, lord Miss Sally, why all your cryin’?
Been around here three long days, you’re lookin’ like you’re dyin’.
Just step yourself outside, and look up at the stars above
Go on downtown baby, find somebody to love.
I was at a dinner, a fund-raiser featuring bids on wine and various gifts and donations, all to raise money to help expand cultural awareness and help people with the cost of higher education. I was chatting with a friend when the bidding was about to commence. He said, “Oh, time for me to fly,” and went off to bid.
Boom, here came REO Speedwagon’s 1978 song, “Time for Me to Fly”. The song is all about giving up on a relationship that hasn’t worked out, and then leaving. Naturally, my buddy thought of the leaving context, as in time to get to another place in a hurry. I’ve always thought of it more simplistically, as in time to spread my wings, do stuff, and get things done.
It’s all in the way that you look at it, hey?
My monthly cycle is on the upswing. Love it when that happens. Much better than the dark troughs.
Dark days come once a month. I call it monthly but, you know, it’s a few days shorter than that, just a time when my optimism surrenders to my pessimism, and discouragement bludgeons encouragement into despair. During the worse of them, I’m in an echo chamber asking myself, “What’s the use? Is there a point to any of this crap?”
But today, it’s a triple high. Discouragement runs away, pessimism flees, and optimism and hope take office on high, declaring, “Everything is going GREAT.”
In honor of this monthly mini-holiday, Peter Gabriel’s 1987 song, “Big Time”, has entered the stream.
Big Time, I’m on my way I’m making it, big time, Huh!
Big time, I’ve got to make it show yeah, big time
Big time, so much larger than life
Big time, I’m gonna watch it growing, big time
Big time, my car is getting bigger Big time, my house is getting bigger
Big time, my eyes are getting bigger
and my mouth
Big time, my belly’s getting bigger
Big time, and my bank account
Big time, look at my circumstance
Big time, and the bulge in my big big big big big big big big big big big big big big big, hi there