sing

For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: sing.

Sing! This photo if from my birthday, some years ago. My father is the seated guitar player. He is gone and so is Andy Makie, standing.

Andy brought music to everyone he could in his last decade. Here is an article: Why music? He talks about it here and another version here. My daughter was in a classroom that received a box of his strumsticks and lessons in second grade and for a while he lived in a trailer on my father’s land and built the strumsticks in my father’s barn.

My father, Malcolm Ottaway, loved both classical and folk music. He was one of the people who started Rainshadow Chorale and I got to sing with him in it for 13 years.

This party was like my parents’ parties: a music party. Bring an instrument. Our age range was under 2 to 70s and everyone made joyful noise at some point. My son led the high school Chamber Orchestra to play too.


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winter morning

I love the orange sky and peach and lemon and tangerine, just as the sun rises! This has been a difficult week with the time change and with a concert or concert rehearsal four out of the last 5 evenings after a full day of clinic. Concert today and tomorrow, and I love the pieces we are doing. Here: Rainshadow Chorale.

sing

For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: dead.

I took this in church two weeks ago. What does this have to do with death? I am thinking of one of the rounds we learned to sing when I was small:

all things shall perish from under the sky
music alone shall live
music alone shall live
music alone shall live
never to die

We sing for birth and death and loss and joy and work and to comfort each other and for harmony. May all the world dissolve in music.

 

Ms Boa signifies

Ms. Boa looks the way I have felt this week. And hearing that Aretha Franklin died, I think this expresses my mood.

This is for the Ragtag Daily Prompt: respect. Respect for loss, grief, and cat knowledge too.

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Princess Mittens, the cat on the left, is gone. One day she was in the living room, sitting under the vent and staring up at it. I finally paid attention and realized why.

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There was a bat in the vent. I could see claws. Ms. Boa became very interested too.

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We did get the bat out, by opening the windows upstairs and the vent. Keeping the cats downstairs.

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Ms. Boa was sad when our other cat was killed by a car.

Thank you so much for the music, Aretha Franklin.

 

Stages of Grief: anger

I am thinking of the songs that comfort me in grief.

And thinking about the stages of grief. Five, right? Denial, Bargaining, Anger, Grief and Acceptance. My sister said, “They left out Revenge and Acting Out. ” She died of cancer in 2012 at age 49. Six days after her birthday and the day after mine.

Anger songs for grief. But denial is first, right? Not necessarily. These are not stages you move through in a certain order. This is more like a spiral, where you go from one to the next and back to the start, from day to day or even hour to hour.

I’ve already written about My Name is Samuel Hall. That is an angry song, unrepentant, that my sister wanted the last time that I visited her. I knew that she was furious about dying and leaving her husband and daughter. And me and her friends.

My mother sang:

“Nobody loves me, everybody hates me, I think I’ll go eat worms. Big fat slimy ones, little tiny wiggly ones, see them wiggle and squirm. Bite their heads off, suck their guts out, throw the skins away. I don’t see how anyone can live on three meals of worms a day… without dessert….”

She also taught us this:

“I don’t want to play in your back yard
I don’t like you any more
You’ll be sorry when you see me
Sliding down my cellar door”

My parents had songs for every mood I can imagine. There were moods they would not speak about but they sang them.

My favorite angry groups are The Devil Makes Three, Hank Williams III, The Offspring, and Sweet Honey in the Rock.

Sweet Honey in the Rock? Yes. They sing about death a lot. This song is not about death: it’s about a “bad” woman, wanted dead or alive. But listen to the song: they are singing about a real event and a woman who fought back against a rape. On the thirty year album of Sweet Honey in the Rock, the group says that their first “hit” was this song, played by news stations. “It was a hint that we were not going to be top 40.” The song is Joanne Little.

So here are three songs by the others:

The Offspring: Why don’t you get a job?

The Devil Makes Three: All Hail

Hank Williams III: My Drinking Problem

And how do families show anger? They fight. They fight with each other. They fight about how someone should die, what should be done about mom, whether dad can live alone any more, about the right way to grieve. They fight about small things or big things and they even sue each other. Before you wade into the fray, step back. Remember, families grieving are always a little bit insane, very stressed and it’s all grief.

Hank Williams III: Country heroes

Blessings on the people I know in hospice right now and on their families and loved ones. Third one today. Sending love.