Monday, May 17, 2010

Roger and Bobo

“Every day is Saturday for dog.”

I imagine Roger Miller sitting on the steps of his house, sipping or smoking or both when he came up with that line. Probably before noon, with a hint of dread in his brain while contemplating Monday responsibility. Not sure if ol’ Roger even made it up before noon. Most likely, that was when he was just going down most days. But this particular morning, I imagine him turning up his cup with the last sip of black coffee just before forging reality in the midst of noticing a yard dog nodding off for a mid-morning nap.

“Dang, everyday IS Saturday for a dog.” A little scratching, a little food, some water, a large personal gift while taking a reckless romp through the roses. Not that Roger would spend his time on Saturday working through this specific agenda, although he might, but the point is – freedom. To do what you want, when you want to do it. Guilt-free. Suit yourself – lazy or productive. Be Saturday.

A few weeks ago I wrote about “Searching for Summer.” Maybe this entry should be titled, “Searching for Saturday.” When I was out on my own, in my twenties, I thought that maybe Saturday, somewhere along the line, had moved to Sunday. Actually Sunday was still Sunday, but Saturday was packed in there too. Over time – in our world, in my world – I have compressed fun and freedom. To the point – where either I don’t have either or I don’t notice them.

As you may catch on – I write, from time to time, about being shaped by run-ins with random taxi drivers. Soon, I will write about the taxi driver in Athens, Greece that quizzed me about freedom. That scenario has played out a couple of times – freedom - taxis.

Back to searching for Saturday. Maybe it only really existed if you were a kid. Cartoons started at 7:00am. I knew they were over for the day when American Bandstand came on at noon. Followed by Don Cornelius and “So-o-o-o-o-u-u-u-l Traaiinn” at 12:30. As I became a teenager – I traded Rocky and Bullwinkle for Dick and Don. But still unmistakably Saturday was Saturday.

Usually, an entire box of Frosted Flakes would meet their doom along with a half gallon of Farmer’s Dairy whole milk while sitting in front of the boobtube. I am not sure how many flakes entered my mouth in those years, but back then I had not discovered peanut butter for breakfast. I would pour the white creamy whole milk on top of the flakes until they would float just a bit. Wait for a minute or so until they became thoroughly soaked. Then with my Jethro-spoon I would begin shoveling – letting the milk drain down my throat as I held the flakes tightly in my mouth. Then chomp, chomp, chomp, like a line outta Poke Salad Annie” – I would grind the Tiger’s delicacy into something more swallow-able. Mmmmm…Saturday.

I am grateful that I didn’t have me for a parent. I would be all over that ‘entire box of cereal” thing. “Save some for next Saturday. You don’t need a whole box today!” But then again – there was only one of me, not three Jethroes like I have produced.

Sweet sixteen. Driving baby. Saturday night was party night. A night to spread your wings. Especially if you were raised in a family of heathens like I was. No church – just “Gospel Jubilee with Bill Hefner” on the tube each Sunday – cleansing our souls with the Word in song. Which I tried my best to sleep though.

But Saturday night…dates with Darlene, playing music at the Wildwood Music Hall or cruising Main in my step-father’s 1976 orange Camaro with t-tops, Glass Pack mufflers, and pin striping. I made that car look good...

Some Saturday nights were spent at the Archdale Soda Shop working the curb (11206 N Main St, Archdale, NC). Delivering orders of “The Special” (2 hotdogs, fry, small coke - .99). to locals sitting in their car awaiting greasy fare from charming teenage boys.

Through the years, no doubt, Saturdays have changed. From being a day of domestic catch-up to just an extension of nine to five. But now - hey are definitely different. Less recreation. More work and more worry.

And even more than Saturdays evolving into something “different,” the idea of Saturday is missing in the world around me. The idea of Saturday used to be filled with the smiling anxiety of relief. We work too hard, multi-task to our detriment, stress too often and search for pharmaceutical means of relief. From diabetes, high blood pressure, anxiety, depression, and obesity we go on searching desperately for a bottle of Saturday.

But Saturday, simply, is a state of mind that requires – action. The action to stop and smell the roses. Bobo did. Just before he peed on them.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day Bobbie

A few years ago - I wrote a song called "The Lord, My Shepherd, and Her." I had been listening to Johnny Cash's "Hurt" pretty much nonstop for 3 days. And on this particular day - I was driving a rental car near Las Vegas through Lee Canyon and Mt. Charleston. Being mindful. Listening. Profound. Painful. Honest.

My mother is similar to Johnny Cash in the pain I believe that she has waded through during her life. One overwhelmingly painful experience for her was losing her mother. I have often thought that she would have just as soon packed in the day Nana passed.

I pulled the car over near Lee Canyon. Turned off the CD player and began to walk amidst the cool fresh alpine air. Free from the hubbub of the Vegas Strip, I came to large rock overlooking Nevada and I sat. Quietly. Mindfully. The haunting lyrics of "Hurt" still overshadowing my thoughts. It's lyrics and tone depict sobering regret. The kind that may rush over a person at the end of their life. I am sure my mom has plenty of guilt. It is embedded into her southern psyche deep and constant with the strength of an anvil anchor. With those thoughts, I wrote the beginning words of "The Lord, My Shepherd, and Her."

I called Bobbie today to tell her Happy Mother's Day. I am grateful that she was there. I know life has often been tough for her. But I do realize that when that sad day comes for real - she will be headed home to be with The Lord and Nana.

The Lord, My Shepherd, and Her
(Brian Hilligoss)

Oh my journey, has been long but it’s true
And oh my eyes, how they hurt
But it’s my yearning that sees me through
To the Lord, My Shepherd and Her

The Lord he waits on me all the day
And Mother, each day how she’d work
Keeping me safe and from going astray
From the Lord, My Shepherd and Her

Father, dear Father, oh how I see you so clear
Father, dear Father, feeling you drawing me near
Oh how I’ll hold you so dear

Now the angels they sing with their voices on high
I’m so close I can almost make out the words
And there they all stand with their arms open wide
With the Lord, My Shepherd, and Her

Jesus, oh Jesus, oh how I see you so clear
Jesus, oh Jesus, feeling you drawing me near
Oh how I’ll hold you so dear.

Oh my journey has been long, but so true
From those who gave me my birth
But I’m returning to start anew
With the Lord, My Shepherd, and Her

Mother, dear Mother, oh how I see you so clear
Mother, dear Mother, feeling you drawing me near
Oh how I’ll hold you so dear
Now, how you hold me so dear

©2005 Brother Briar Music, Inc.

This tune can be purchased at iTunes along with Johnny Cash's "Hurt"