Tag Archives: lyrics

Some day, little girl

They say scent memories are the most overwhelming.

But they’re wrong.

Yes, when you smell bread baking it might toss you right back into your grandmother’s kitchen. Or the waft of skunk reminds you of that dreadful night. Or a certain perfume, caught on a breeze, delivers you to the small, embroidered bench of your mother’s vanity.

Music. Lyrics. Songs. We have more of those stuffed into our heads than all the odors combined. Well, I do anyway.

When our kids still lived at home, they found their way to our collection of vinyl records and our turntable, stored in the basement. Out of the blue, a song would sail upstairs. I hadn’t heard it for thirty years, yet I could stop what I was doing and sing every word as if I’d never left the floor of my bedroom where I sat cross-legged, solving for x in the Trapper Keeper resting on my lap.

So many songs in my head, each with a memory attached. Riding in a car, either snuggled next to my dad, or with my teenage friends, or driving my own children. Watching a movie musical. Sitting in the second pew of the church, the choir and organ or, later, the guitar resounding and triumphant, echoing in the space. But mostly music flitted in while I was doing something inconsequential, boring, routine.

And that’s still how it sneaks up on me.

When Glen Campbell died, all the tributes made me remember how much I liked his ballads but I realized I didn’t have any of his music. I placed a hold on his Greatest Hits CD at the library.

The library notified me it had arrived and I picked it up before I went to my recent MRI appointment. I popped the CD into the player in my car to listen to on the way.

The second song was “Wichita Lineman” and the tears began as soon as those sad strings swelled. I cried again during “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” and “Galveston” and “Gentle On My Mind.” I had advanced to some seriously ugly crying when I heard “True Grit.”

These are such stupid songs. The lyrics are clichéd and/or weird.

“I clean my gun and dream of Galveston.”

 “…that keeps you in the back roads of the rivers of my memory…”

The stories they tell are mostly ridiculous.

“I am a lineman for the county, and I drive the main road, searching in the sun for another overload …. I know I need a small vacation but it don’t look like rain, and if it snows that stretch down south won’t ever stand the strain.”

But “These Days,” the very last song on the CD, is different. Jackson Browne wrote it when he was only about sixteen. I’d never heard it before. Just a guitar, some strings, and Glen Campbell’s sweet, smooth voice. Pure vocal molasses.

I’ve been out walking

I don’t do too much talking

These days, these days.

 

These days I seem to think a lot

About the things that I forgot to do

And all the times I had the chance to.

 

I’ve stopped my rambling,

I don’t do too much gambling

These days, these days.

 

These days I seem to think about

How all the changes came about my way

And I wonder if I’ll see another highway.

 

I’ll keep on moving

I’m bound to be improving

These days, these days

 

And if I seem to be afraid

To live the life that I have made in song

It’s just that I’ve been healing so long

 

I’ve stopped my dreaming,

I won’t do too much scheming

These days, these days.

 

These days I sit on corner stones

And count the time in quarter tones to ten.

Please don’t confront me with my failures,

I’ve not forgotten them.

 

I had some time to ponder my reaction to this music while I was entombed in the MRI machine and later, driving home. Why did these songs, sung by this man I hadn’t thought of in years, affect me so?

The answer crept in gradually, a tide of understanding. Slow motion clarity, as usual.

Most of these songs are of my youth, 1968-1972. I was 10-ish. My parents were 40-ish. My world was small and safe, non-threatening. These songs were pretty. Glen Campbell was dreamy. “True Grit” was my favorite movie.

 

I’m not 10 anymore. My parents aren’t 40. My world isn’t small or safe.

But it was, once upon a time.

 

Some days, little girl

You’ll wonder what life’s about

But others have known

Few battles are won alone

Poetry Is Where You Find It

Whenever the subject of poetry comes up ”” and I’m a bit surprised how often that is ”” I’m the first to say I don’t much like it. But you know what I LOVE? Lyrics. I know. Tomato, tomahto.

There’s been a Facebook thingy going around asking what your favorite Christmas song is. I didn’t answer it because, well, it seems too hard to choose and I’m tired of doing hard things lately. But while I was eating breakfast this morning, I finally pulled out all our holiday CDs.

I’m getting a late start this year because I’m in the final, agonizing stages of birthing a new novel and it’s requiring all my focus and grey matter. Not even fudge or egg nog could tear me away””aw, who am I kidding? If I had fudge or egg nog, I’d be as distracted as a Golden Retriever at a tennis ball factory run by squirrels.

But while I was listening to carols this morning, I tried to determine which was my favorite. And it WAS hard! So I did what I always do when something is hard … I cheated. Instead of just one song, I separated my choices into categories.

The first category is SECULAR. And for this I chose “The Christmas Waltz,” elegant and jazzy when Nancy Wilson does it. And isn’t that album cover cool? So retro.

Second is CHURCHY. For this I chose “Once in Royal David’s City.” This version by the Chieftains and the Renaissance Singers simply can’t be beat.

The third category is DANCABLE and I can’t believe there are any choices but “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.” Argue if you must, but I’m ignoring you.

Fourth is FAVORITE TO SING. Don’t get me wrong; I sing all of them. Even the ones without lyrics. (I do a fabulous “Linus and Lucy.”) But my Very Favorite to Sing is “Do You Hear What I Hear.” If you were here, you would hear me, singing not only Johnny Mathis’ part, but all the choral parts too. Not to brag, but it’s quite spectacular and exhausting. It’s also a lot of fun, you should try it.

And the last category is GUARANTEED TO MAKE ME CRY. Those who know me, know that just about everything falls into this category, but there’s one I wanted to single out this year; the song that got me to thinking about my favorites today.

I haven’t been in the holiday spirit lately, yes, because I’m crazybusy, but also because we are empty nesters and don’t have any kids coming home this year. Both Navy boys will be here in February, though, and we saw our Oregon daughter in September, so don’t feel bad for me.

But this song ”” “Home on Christmas Day” ”” made me sob through my scrambled eggs this morning.

The lyrics spoke to me, like good poetry should.

“Home On Christmas Day”

And now that winter’s here soon it will be Christmas
I see your face so clear though you’re far away
Your home is in my heart, it’s everywhere I go
And I’ll be waiting here ’til you’re home to stay

I think of winters past we were all together
The sweetest memories all come into play
Your voice rings in my ear just to let me know
That you’ll be here with me home on Christmas Day

Angels calling from up high will bring a starry sky
To light the frosted ground below
So you will know your way back home tonight
A candle burns so bright to show the way

I’ll make a silent wish just for you this Christmas
To keep you safe and warm never led astray
That everywhere you go you’re sheltered from the storm
And that my Christmas wish is with you every day

Angels calling down to say they’ll always know the way
To lift you ’til you soar so high
That I will see you in the sky above
My Christmas gift of love will guide you back

And now I promise you with all my heart this Christmas
That all the love we shared will never go away
Your spirit’s everywhere and I hope you know
That you are always here home on Christmas Day
Home on Christmas Day

I’ll make a silent wish that you enjoy the poetry of the season, wherever you find it.