I grew up listening to Oldies, and to this day I still enjoy a sugary doo-wop song or something that emerged from Motown at the height of its glory. I love The Platters, The Fleetwoods, Martha & the Vandellas…pretty much anything from the American Graffiti Soundtrack. There’s another song I’ve been thinking about today though. Do any of you remember the song Raindrops by Dee Clark? Dee tells us that since “a man ain’t supposed to cry, it must be raindrops…falling from my eyes.”
That about sums up my day. I am, apparently, either a hormonal mess or suffering from early seasonal depression. The littlest things have made me all choked up–barely able to complete sentences without betraying myself. I may need help. Today I got teary-eyed from:
1. Seeing a Lowe’s commercial in which mom and dad were working hard to prepare their home for the holidays. Since their daughter couldn’t return home to be with them, the parents used a laptop web-cam to show her around the house, proudly displaying their remodeling efforts via Skype. When mom says, “And just wait to see what we did outside!” she opens the door to find daughter secretly waiting to surprise them. Aww! Sniff, sniff.
2. Today we had to borrow my parents’ 1985 Chevy Suburban to haul some wood [that’s a blog entry for another time]. This is the vehicle of my youth–of all the trips to Minnesota to see Grandma and Grandpa–my 5th grade venture to Washington DC before Grandpa died: it all happened in that car. Now, with over 250,000 miles on it [!!] and still running strong, I hopped in and felt like I was in a time warp. To top it off, my dad still had all his mixed tapes from those trips in the blue auto-organizer–the one that sits on the hump on the floor in between the driver and the passenger. My oldest son was along and I thought I should do my family duty by indoctrinating him into the world of “Real Country.” That’s right–“Real Country” capitalized and used as a proper noun. Songs by the old masters. People who have names like Hank and Lefty. Tammy and Loretta. You know the type. Tennessee twang from the 1950’s and 60’s. This was the soundtrack of every 12 hour trip I ever took, and it didn’t take me long to learn all about drinkin’ and cheatin’ and “layin’ you down.” Subtle education, really.
Anyway, I put the tape in so I could point out the fiddles and steel guitars to my son, and I started crying! Not sobbing, runny nose cry, but please-don’t-ask-me-to-talk–because-I’ll-blubber-and squeak-cry. I’ll admit that I have so attached those songs to the person of my father that part of me was wondering how I’ll ever listen to them after he’s gone. And that’s what I was thinking about. Going to get a pile of wood for Bob Vila my husband, and thinking about how I’ll ever live without my dad.
3. I had to stop at the grocery store for a bag of roma tomatoes this morning. I’ve had a hankering for guacamole. [I mean, how can you get through vacation without plopping on the couch next to your husband and plowing through a bowl of homemade guacamole with copious amounts of tortilla chips?] As we were leaving the store we were met with the ubiquitous Salvation Army bell ringers. I grabbed the loose change from my sweatshirt pocket and dumped it into the red can, feeling a bit sheepish that I wasn’t able to produce more.
On the way to the car, A asked me who the people were and why they were standing there ringing a bell. True to form, I could barely formulate my answer about all the needy people that ache for help, especially at Christmas, without swallowing my tears. By this time of the day I was fairly certain I may be going into menopause.
4. In the same vein, Angel Tree commercials are now airing, reminding able givers to consider pulling an ornament off an Angel Tree and providing an unwrapped gift for a child this Christmas. The announcer said that West Michigan alone has 30,000 wishes to fill this holiday season. 30,000 kids with nothing under the tree? I’m crying again.
5. Don’t call your shrink–this is the last one. Tonight on NBC World News with Brian Williams, his “Making a Difference” segment highlighted the work of a non-profit organization called RAMP: Rockin’ Appalachian Moms Project. Seeing how one person can so powerfully change the trajectory of so many people’s lives amazes me. It truly makes my heart beat a little faster. So I sat and watched Amy, a mother of four from Connecticut, run a ministry that has delivered over a quarter of a million dollars of aid to one of the poorest places in our nation. Heaters, clothes, food. I sat and thought about how I never have to worry about those things. How my needs are met and met and…exceeded. And how the people of Appalachia don’t have heat. And it moved me.
As we enjoy the quiet warmth of our own homes this Thanksgiving Eve, I invite you to send up your prayers of gratitude to the One who loved us so much that He Gave. And if you need a place to start, take 2.5 minutes and see what’s happening in Appalachia.
Good thing they’re predicting more rain tomorrow. I might still be singing that song.