Musical Memories

It’s Friday. I may be retired, but being retired does not take the “specialness” away from Fridays.

Friday is one of our water aerobic days. I love being able to exercise again without feeling like I am destroying my body. Today was special because of some of the music.

I’m always surprised by the emotions music can stir–even while working to get your heart rate up and stay somewhat coordinated–a feat that often eludes me.

Today, one of the first songs spurring me on was, “I’m Henry the Eighth I am”, the original one, by Herman’s Hermits. Oh, my heavens. I don’t think I have heard that song for decades.  As I listened, I was transported back to 8th grade. I could see all my former North Tama classmates climbing onto the buses which would take us to the school house in Dinsdale, Iowa, the site for our junior high. The trip was a fairly short and one we made regardless of the weather.

We would often sing as we rode down Highway 63. At least that is what I remember–the singing, talking and planning for the day ahead. As I thought about this, I couldn’t help but wonder how different that whole experience would have been if we were taking that same ride today. Would we even be talking to each other? Or would we all be in our own little spaces looking at our cell phones?

The other song that made me smile played shortly after that. As it began, I recognized it right away. I wanted to run over and turn it up. “Celebration” by Kool and the Gang. As this played out over the pool I saw an entirely different time in my life. I had “grown up” but I still had a lot of growing up to do. I had a precious group of friends who were also mostly co-workers. I was and am very lucky. This is something else that does not happen in today’s world. We worked and partied hard. Whenever we were together, this song playing often. As it played I would often declare it to be the song playing if I ever got married again.

Two very different songs that helped me remember two very special times in my life. I am grateful.

Because it’s Friday I am sharing my latest book. Setting Free The Kites, by Alex George.  It’s a story of two teenage boys, Robert Carter and Nathan Tilly. They meet on their first day of school in 1976. Their friendship is formed quickly by two tragic events.

What made this book important to me was one of the story lines. Robert’s brother, Liam, has Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Working in medical imaging, I had several patients over the years with muscular dystrophy. Reading about Liam, his bravery as he battled his disease, and the effects it had on his family was well done, enlightening, and heartbreaking.

Because the book impressed me, I want to share some snippets. With the nature of Liam’s disease, I don’t feel that I’m giving anything away.

Oh, Liam,” she whispered. “You were the best boy there ever was.” She kissed his cheek, breathing him in, baptizing him with her tears. But no matter how tightly she squeezed, how fiercely she clung, she could not hold on to him. 

Some time after that, we stumbled out into the rest of our lives. 

…On the window shelf was a half-drunk bottle of Gatorade and a paperback of The Great Gatsby…He had only made it halfway through. I wondered whether he had given up on it or if he’d been planning to finish it when he returned home from the hospital. 

There were unfinished stores everywhere.

For me, the book was perfect because I have been doing so much reflecting on my own childhood. The book is serious but also very funny and always entertaining. The characters in this book reminded me of many people from my own childhood. Grab it and travel back to the 70’s.

I am…

B…simply being…

Have a safe and restful weekend.

Love and peace, Y’all.


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