Let’s Take A Moment Day 215

Hi everyone.  Hope you are all well and continue to stay that way during this global health crisis we are facing.  But in addition to protecting your physical wellness, what are you doing to stay mentally healthy today?

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(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

I know we are in a serious situation, but I need a break from the gloom, doom and bullying by way of hoarding. Music has always been my refuge and watching those beautiful Italians singing to each other from their balconies reaffirmed my belief that music is the answer. So until the old normal returns, I am going to share a song I listen to that helps me escape the current state of things, if only for a few minutes each day.  And if this helps anyone else, even better.

On a typically hot humid Long Island summer day in July 1980, I was sitting in a wonderfully cool air conditioned movie theatre waiting with bated breath for a movie to start. There were only two other people in the multiplex that day-a young couple a few rows behind me. The film we were all there to see was the “No Nukes” documentary from the concerts held at Madison Square Garden in September 1979. I will not bore you with the details as to why I was not allowed to go to see one of the shows in person with three of my cousins (hint-they were boys and I was not, as my father sternly reminded me) but suffice it to say I had been waiting close to a year for this moment.

I sat through nearly every other performance and enjoyed many of them (Crosby, Stills & Nash, James Taylor, The Doobie Brothers) but I was desperate to see the love of my life, Bruce Springsteen. Finally a picture of the marque with his name came on the screen and suddenly there he was backstage. First he was with Jackson Browne then with The E Street Band walking to the stage for their performance as the crowd cheered “Bruce!”. In the next scene the band was in front of the audience and then that beautiful man, Springsteen himself, walked up to the microphone. And the camera stayed on him and that microphone for the entire song. Swoon.

“This is new. It’s about my brother-in-law and sister”, he told the crowd. Then he started playing the harmonica until he introduced us to the characters in the first verse.

I come from down in the valley where mister when you’re young
They bring you up to do like your daddy done
Me and Mary we met in high school when she was just seventeen
We’d drive out of this valley down to where the fields were green
“.

We’d go down to the river and into the river we’d dive
Oh down to the river we’d ride
“.

The guy sitting with his girlfriend a couple of rows behind me shouted “turn it up!” and the volume increased as The Boss continued telling us the true story of the couple in the song.

Then I got Mary pregnant and man that was all she wrote
And for my nineteenth birthday I got a union card and a wedding coat
We went down to the courthouse and the judge put it all to rest
No wedding day smiles, no walk down the aisle, no flowers no wedding dress
“.

We went down to the river and into the river we’d dive
Oh down to the river we’d ride…
“.

More consequences followed as the couples’ downward spiral continued.

I got a job working construction for the Johnstown Company
But lately there ain’t been no work on account of the economy
Now all them things that seemed so important, well mister they vanished right into the air
I just act like I don’t remember, Mary acts like she don’t care
“.

Then a memory of better days………and how quickly they ended.

But I remember us riding in my brother’s car, her body tan and wet down at the reservoir
At night on them banks I’d lie awake and pull her close just to feel each breath she’d take
Now them memories come back to haunt me, they haunt me like a curse
Is a dream a lie if it don’t come true or is it something worse
“.

That sends me down to the river, though I know the river is dry
Oh down to the river tonight
Down to the river, my baby and I
Oh down to the river we ride…
.

Tears were rolling down my face as the last line from the final verse just played over and over in my head.

Is a dream a lie if it don’t come true or is it something worse“.

What is worse than a dream that does not come true?

I don’t think anyone tells the stories of those haunted by broken dreams better than Springsteen does. The movie concert was the first time I ever saw him sing on a stage and I still remember every second of that performance. Today’s hauntingly beautiful song is the title track from his only double album-which was released 40 years ago today-October 17, 1980. I have written this before and will continue until I take my last breath: Bruce Springsteen’s music saved me like no one else’s. I owe him everything and “it’s a debt no honest man can pay”. Swoon.

Bruce No Nukes

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Top: A movie still from the “No Nukes” concert film of Bruce Springsteen during his performance of “The River”. Bottom: “The River” album front cover. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band: “The River” (From the 1980 film, “No Nukes”, as performed at the concert of the same name in September 1979. Written by Bruce Springsteen).

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing what I love and how I am coping with you.

Stay well.

Weekend Wanderings

Hello, Vixens!!!  Happy Monday!!!

Today we celebrate the life of a man who worked for peace.  Last Friday, there was a funeral for a man who followed in the footsteps of Martin Luther King, Jr. by becoming a beacon of hope and inspiration for people all over the world.  However, his story began on my old stomping grounds of Long Island.

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Courtesy of Joyful Baptist (original source unknown).  

He followed his father and grandfather before him into the line of duty as a member of the NYPD.  In 1986, while he was still a rookie officer, the 29 year old newlywed was working overtime to help prepare for the birth of his first child when he was shot three times by a 15 year old boy in Central Park.  The injuries from that shooting left the officer paralyzed from the neck down.  That might have been the end of the story for most of us, but for Detective First Grade Steven McDonald, it was the start of something extraordinary.

Less than a year later he offered forgiveness to his shooter and spent the next 30 years spreading the message to children and adults that Dr. King taught-that hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.  McDonald died at the age of 59 on January 10, 2017 and his funeral was held last Friday in St Patrick’s Cathedral.  I listened to it at work and then watched the service when I got home that night.  All I can write here is that it was one of the most beautiful celebrations of life I have ever witnessed.

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The McDonald family:  NYPD Det. Steven McDonald, his wife Patricia Ann & their son, Sgt. Conor McDonald (courtesy WPIX-11 News)

With all the violence we hear about day in and day out, all the hate and ugliness of the Presidential Election and the continued backlash expected on Inauguration Day later this week for those who still refuse to accept the outcome, I think we need to be reminded that there are still people in this world who want love to win-regardless of their political affiliation.  If you are one of them, watch or listen to the service yourself here.   If religion is not your thing, you can just listen to the eulogies starting at 1:31 of the video.  The last one by McDonald’s son should not be missed.

I am not sure if I shared this yet, but I have not made New Year’s resolutions in years because they simply are not productive for me.  I work better by giving myself attainable monthly goals.  For January, one of my big ones is to finish decorating my bedroom.  I put some things in place quickly for the holiday season, but now it is time to complete it.  The entire apartment was freshly painted before I moved in, but this room & the dining room were painted yellow.  I had a yellow bedroom in my house for he entire time I lived there (please don’t judge-painting that room lead to a bad case of carpal tunnel syndrome so I avoided painting it again for many years…..which ended up turning into forever).

During the 14 years I lived there, I developed a more neutral palette & an enormous love for the shabby chic look.  So Saturday I went to the hardware store to get some paint samples.  I want the room white and I have narrowed the color choices down to four shades.  I will decide by the weekend because that is when I plan to paint.  I will share the shade I pick when I show you the after picture.  For now, the before picture is below:

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Saturday night my book club met for a movie night based on one of last year’s great reads, “The Light Between Oceans”.  I was able to snap one picture as I was assembling my food contribution to the evening-a turkey meat taco bar-before my phone died.  But I also had cheese, avocados, & sour cream as toppings.  Each of us were required to bring a box of tissues for the inevitable bawling we were anticipating for the really sad scenes.  I did like the movie but since I knew what was coming it made it very hard to watch, but definitely worth seeing……with a ton of tissues, of course.

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After the movie the rest of the women said the last time they used so many tissues was when they watched Tuesday night’s episode of NBC’s new show, “This Is Us“.  I have seen the commercials praising the show & was a little curious, but since my heart is still hurting two years after the finale of that station’s last critically acclaimed drama “Parenthood“, I was not ready to invest my feelings in a new family.  But the girls were so insistent-and did not reveal any spoilers to me just like I will not do here-plus they told me one of my favorite TV guys from my teenage years-Gerald McRaney-(“Simon & Simon“, “Major Dad“) has a recurring role in it, I thought I would check it out.  All the episodes are on Hulu so I was able to start at the beginning.

I could describe the show with one of today’s popular acronyms, but I think the series is good enough to use the actual words…….

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Courtesy of NBC.

OOOOOHHHHH

MMMMMYYYYY

GGGGGOOOOODDDDD!!!!!

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Susan Kelechi Watson & Sterling K. Brown from “This Is Us” (courtesy of NBC).

Despite my emphasis, that does not even begin to explain the greatness of this show.

I am not even kidding.

I started watching the pilot at around 11 pm Saturday night.  Then I binge-watched the next 10 episodes.

For eight hours straight.

Then I re-watched my favorite episode-“Pilgrim Rick”-two more times.

(Side note:  The last four minutes of this episode bring a whole new meaning to the word “dysfunction”).

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A scene from “This Is Us-Episode 8:  “Pilgrim Rick” (courtesy of NBC).

I was in serious need of an intervention.

That is how addicted I became almost instantly.  It was scary.

Then I fell asleep.

When I woke up, I started the series all over again.

Is there a 12 step program for binge watching addiction???

But first, where do I begin to explain how much I adore this show???

The writing?  Think verklempt times infinite.

The acting?  Superb.

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Mandy Moore & Milo Ventimiglia as Rebecca and Jack Pearson in “This Is Us” (courtesy of NBC).  

I already loved Milo Ventimiglia from his role as know-it-all-chip-on-his-shoulder Jess in “The Gilmore Girls”.  But here he is just as perfectly cast as a good guy who turns into an absolute superman of a father and husband.  Unbelievably, the performance did not garner him a nomination at last week’s Golden Globe Awards but the Hollywood Foreign Press did recognize the show as a whole and two other actors from it-Mandy Moore & Chrissy Metz-who were each nominated in the best supporting actress in a drama category. Moore really shines here, too.  If you have seen any of her movies over the years (I had not) or her three episode arc in “Grey’s Anatomy” in 2010 (I had), then you knew she had some serious acting chops.  She uses them in this show beautifully.

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Ventimiglia & Moore at the Golden Globe Awards (courtesy of Zimbio -original source unknown).

And the music?  Profound.

Episode three (“Kyle”) featured one of my all time favorite songs ever:  Blind Faith’s “Can’t Find My Way Home“.  It also introduced me to a song from 1965 that is now haunting me.  It was written by a man who had such a sad life yet wrote something so mesmerizing and excruciatingly beautiful that it is almost  too hard to listen to.  In my opinion, that is art at its best.

Jackson C. Frank:  “Blues Run The Game“.

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Jackson C. Frank circa mid 1960’s (original source unknown)

Episode 9 (“The Trip”) introduced me to another old song-this time from 1974-that I never heard before.  The vocals do not start until 58 seconds in, so if you do not like the intro of the song, definitely fast forward to the singing because it is so worth it, I promise.

Richard and Linda Thompson:  “The Calvary Cross

Now that I gave  you the pros, it is only fair I give you the cons of the show:

  1.  Waiting an ENTIRE week for each new episode (there are six left for the season).  It will be torture.  I guess re-watching the previously aired ones will have to fill the void (if you do not subscribe to Hulu, you can watch a few episodes at NBC.com).
  2.  Gerald McRaney is not a series regular.  He is still so handsome and a hell of an actor.  He is one of TV’s best –  right  up there with Tom Selleck.
  3.  Despite the superb writing, the show already borrowed a pretty recent story line from another show.  One of the female characters  has a serious weight issue, so she attends a meeting for Over-Eaters Anonymous where she finds a boyfriend. That is exactly  how  the  characters  on “Mike & Molly” met.  While I think it is wonderful that  Hollywood is  now  embracing  overweight women (thank you, Melissa McCarthy), to suggest the only  place they can find love is in a support group is myopic, not to mention unrealistic.

If you like feel good dramas, “This Is Us” should not be missed.

So, how was your weekend???

Until next time, fellow Vixens, happy digging!!!