Forever Young


Always a way out of depression girl

On this warm, humid summer afternoon, I’m smiling while being loved by  three fur babies – my dogs, Miley, Casey and Mabel.  During my life, I escaped somewhat the throes of cancer with surgery and medicine.  However, the miracle of childbirth was stolen from me.  Still I consider myself very fortunate.  After all, I’ve lived thus far a fairly long life with many experiences to speak about.

One such I have was my youth, growing up during the 50s and 60s.  In 1966, my dad bought my very first guitar (inexpensive and hard to play).  He promised that if I showed him true interest and kept with it, he’d buy me my much desired Gibson guitar.

I couldn’t do it alone, and pleaded with him to allow me to take lessons.  To my surprise, he said “yes”.  I studied hard, and played my little heart out.  Used the Joan Baez Anthology of Songs Book to guide me.  In 1968, after bleeding calluses on my fingertips, the light in my eyes shone brightly when dad gifted me my  Gibson guitar.  For Christmas that year, students of the conservatory played a Theater type Auditorium amidst family, friends, neighbors, and strangers.  I had a partner, another shy girl, to help play and sing two songs.  First song was House of the Rising Sun, by The Animals.  My second song was “Blowin’ in the Wind” …

Well, my partner couldn’t make it through that 1st song.  Truth be known she ran behind the curtain without playing her guitar or singing a note.  You guessed: she had stage fright to the ‘nth degree and I had to finish – alone.  I muddled through, and I think more because I wouldn’t give up, I received a standing ovation and very long applause!  After the 2nd song, another rousing round of applause to which I smiled brightly as my teacher brought me flowers.  What a night!

By the way, I still have that Gibson guitar today although I haven’t played in years!   ‘Til the end of my life on earth, it will be a prized possession holding Forever Young memories.

On this tropical Labor Day afternoon, lazy and enjoying my fur babies asleep at my feet, the song Forever Young by Joan Baez plays in the background.  And I smile – she is my reason for playing the guitar. To hear the song click:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xqqp-50AfUQ&feature=player_embedded#t=0

The lyrics:

May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
And may you stay forever young

May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you
May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
And may you stay forever young

Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young

May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful
May your song always be sung
And may you stay forever young

Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young

Joan Baez then and now   Joan Baez was, and still is, my very favorite singer, a legacy that spans the decades since the 60s that has opened hearts and been a call-to-action for compassion and conscience, and that still holds a powerful sway today.

Her effortless guitar playing, key changes from major to minor and quiet melody could not soften the impact of a line like, “Show me the countries where the bombs have to fall”.  That line has as much resonance today with the Syrian chemical atrocities as it had when the 60’s protest movement was birthing and Baez was on the rise.  I find myself wondering, where are the Joan Baez musical equivalents in a world that today needs torch songs of protest and concern more than ever?

And so it is, on this somewhat somber summer afternoon at home, I’m reminded in music of  Forever Young … the song that reminds us of Joan’s truth-telling and integrity as an artist.  A song that celebrates the light overcoming the places of darkness.

We all face challenges in our lifetimes.  It’s all in how we address those challenges – how we believe in ourselves, take steps to keep persevering, until we finally and often brutally begin to understand how basic and simple our needs truly are.

Andrea and Brutus

My dearest friend visited us yesterday.  Andrea brought her boy dog, Brutus to visit.  My three girls and Brutus were introduced and immediately I think my girls began to flirt with him!

Bottom line – these are the things I remember sweetly and lovingly.  Perhaps if you look back on your lifetime’s span thus far, you will enjoy yourself and remember you are, and may always be, Forever Young.

 

My treasured Gibson Guitar.

Gibson1Gibson2

 

 

Death Is A Challenge – So Is Love!


 

After losing my husband, Martin, a few months ago I have been grieving and processing and healing.  It’s a long process – suicide survivors have such a difficult journey to travel. 

Leo Buscaglia said, “Death is a challenge.  It tells us not to waste time…It tells us to tell each other right now that we love each other.” 

After nine months I knew it was time.  I rescued two dogs, white Boxers.  They’re sisters.  Casey is deaf and looks to Miley all the time.  But don’t think that Casey is needy.  Not her – she is definitely a lot of action, fun and love all jumbled into a beautiful girl.   These girls tell me every day that they love me unconditionally  just by their actions.  They want to always be near me, and look for me even while they’re playing.  They want to kiss me endlessly (okay so it’s licking – but it’s what dogs do!) and they’re so forgiving.

We just celebrated their 3rd birthday on Sunday, January 30th.  It was gorgeous weather in the 70’s and bright sunshine.  We played outside running around with dog toys, and chasing a tennis ball.  They ran around the yard and the pool like it was their own personal doggy park!  They looked a lot like gazelles!

What love we are given, we’ll have forever.  What love we fail to give, will be lost for all eternity. — Leo Buscaglia

 

We went for a short walk also, which they love to do.  And then they celebrated their “Birthday” with their  special treat:  Doggie Ice Cream Treats.  They absolutely adored these non-milk items.  I opted for my personal Skinny Cow ice cream sandwich – human style!

For the first time in nine months, I felt the love, unconditionally, and laughed and smiled endlessly.  Then I cried – happy tears for them, sad tears for losing Martin – and they came over and sat beside me knowingly, quiet and staring up at me.  As I dried my eyes they rested their chins on my lap and watched me with deep brown fixed eyes.  I could only smile as they reached up kissed my cheek – more like licking really.  But I knew what in dog terms they were saying.  We now are family!  We share a bond of unconditional love knowing whatever we do, we’re forgiven.  Why?  Because we love each other.  What a lovely lesson to learn isn’t it?

I have two magnets in the shape of dog paws on my refrigerator.  They say:  

And they both express the real meaning of love don’t they.  Not only with pets but also humans.  Think of this next time you need to scold your child – or even admonish your spouse!  No matter what, always, always tell them and show them you love them.  Time is too short for grudges.  Time is too short not to feel the love.