Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Music Did Not Lie

Foggy morning in old Lloydian town. 

Mrs. Moon is already working on the boys' play yard, drilling, sawing, standing on a ladder. I have sweet potato and pecan pancakes going in my biggest iron skillet. It is not cold, it is not warm, it is clear-clean-damp-cool.
It is, in a way, quite lovely.

An entire Sunday before me and I feel fine although we stayed up very late. We watched CNN's British Invasion last night and of course it made me so happy. You can watch the entire thing here. 
We sat snuggled on the couch and once again I was reminded of how lucky I am to have been present for the events of the sixties, the seventies, even the ones which were horrid and so wrong. I remember the Ed Sullivan show where the Beatles were introduced to America. I remember the Stones and the Hollies and The Animals. I remember the Beach Boys and I remember Bob Dylan when he was just a pup and of course the women, too. Joni Mitchell and Joan Baez, Mama Cass and Janis Joplin.

I remember. It was a time. The Viet Nam war being brought to us at dinner time every night via our televisions so that we ingested napalm and guts and body bags along with our meat loaf, our hamburger noodle dinners. Kennedy's death, the Civil Rights movement being played out the same, dogs and guns and rednecks and peaceful people simply sitting or marching, always singing, even as tears streamed down their faces, even as the dogs attacked, the rednecks screamed the most evil of epithets. The Rolling Stones bringing sex to the stage in a way I never could have imagined- somehow incredibly empowering for a girl-child being sexually abused. I owned my own body, I could want what I wanted, even as part of me shut down- the part which I was being told I did not own, was not mine to own at all. The music somehow told me that was false, a lie. I can't explain it but it's true. 
I owe my life to that music. I swear to you, I do. 

I remember Billy Graham on the television, throwing his giant head around and making promises on behalf of the Lord and I remember trying to do what he said to be saved, saved, saved. Not from MY sins but the sins perpetrated on me and all my kneeling, praying, Bible reading didn't do one damn thing. 

BUT. The music. Not the holy-hymns sung by people in choir robes. Nah. None of that saved me or my soul or my body or my heart. It was the music on the radio, sometimes the black-and-white TV, the mystical, magical, sweet harmonied, nasty, bass-driven, drum dancing, guitar screeching, guttural, ethereal, mysterious, ever-changing, instantly evolving, reaching-back-to-the-blues, reaching-forward-to-the-unknown music that saved me over and over and over again and it still does. 
The poetry, the chanting, the wailing, the screaming, the whispering, the rasp, the beat, the sacred and oh yes, my GOD yes, the profane. Jimmy Hendrix in a trance, alien and man all at once, Janis Joplin ripping her heart out through her throat and handing it to me, the absolutely mind-expanding and then completely mind-blowing act of dropping the needle on Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band, the dreamy dream state of Pet Sounds, the poetry and power of Dylan, the very essence of sex, sex, sex from the Stones. 
This is what saved me, this is what pulled me though it all from what was happening in my own home to what was happening in my country, to my planet, and it was all a secret, sacred code that the grown-ups with their weary eyes and ears were afraid of (and rightly so) and which we, the young ones, took inside our very souls and it lit fires and it opened us up and we knew all the words and we danced and it was our own.

The BEATLES! said Ed Sullivan and the world changed in that instant and for once, not because of a death, bloody and completely incomprehensible, not a monk self-set on fire, not a crowd beat into submission, not a bomb exploding over a desert, not a child running down a street, flesh melting from her body, but music. 
And the Beatles wanted to hold my hand. 

They still do. And the world is still different because of them and I know that because I was there and because I am, somehow, miraculously, still here. 

Well. Good morning. That's what I'm thinking about as the sun comes out and the fog lifts and drifts away and Elvis crows from somewhere in the yard and the birds fuss and I still can't quite get over the way it all happened with the music all at once and the technology blossomed and bloomed with it and the first world-wide live satellite performance was The Beatles and they sang All You Need Is Love and it was silly and absurd and it was innocent and it was perfect and there were classical musicians and George Martin and yes, even Keith and Mick were there and for a few moments, the world was a fine and good place and even now, all these years later, it makes me cry to think of all that was and how the world was tipping into something truly fire and brimstone and then came this music and balance was somehow restored and love was shown to be more powerful even than the bomb and will this ever happen again in the world? Such a time?
I do not know but I was there when it happened that time. And I was saved. 

Last night I was reminded. And I was saved again.

Love (which is all you need)...Ms. Moon


  1. Now that is a very fine testimony! Just beautiful, Mary. I am glad all of it was there for you, as you are here for us all now. Hugs, my friend.

  2. You paint so damn well with your words!

  3. Angella- If there is any magic, music sure is a big part of it. For me anyway. Hugs back, sweet woman.

    SJ- If I only believed in God I could be a preacher. I'm pretty sure, however, that's not a complete barrier to that career.

    Big Mamabird- Thank-you!

  4. Amen, sister. And I just went to the church of Sweet Mary way down in Lloyd.

    XXXXX Beth

  5. Music saves me every day. It started with the Beatles for me too, but I was born after they broke up, so it was my parents' nostalgic influence. That's the greatest thing they ever did for me, so there you have it.
    It saves me every day.
    Whether it's Collective Soul or Tracy Chapman or Duran Duran or Karen Carpenter or Jann Arden or Mötley Crüe or The Boss or Carol King or Rose Cousins, it saves me.
    I wish I could hug you.

  6. Beth Coyote- WAY down, girl. We're south of everything but north of Miami. Thanks for coming, as always.

    heartinhand- I knew when I heard the Beatles that this was something real and true. Wish I could hug you too. I'm glad your parents gave you that. I really am.

  7. I know that music saved me too. I spent many nights tuned into far away stations listening to music and wishing that I were in the Delta or in Boston or New York. The blues and Beatles and Stones and Animals soothed me and helped me to learn about what women wanted and what I wanted to do. I grew up with that music in many ways.


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