Saturday Night Serenade–Something That We Do

I grew up in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and I traveled through Nashville countless times on my way to visit relatives in Kentucky.  But it wasn’t until I was an adult that I first stayed there for a couple of nights.

Nashville is a cool town, with lots to see and do.  We stayed downtown, and walked all over the place.  We got a little rowdy in a huge bar called the Wildhorse Saloon, and we didn’t miss the opportunity to stop by the Ryman Auditorium, the sacred cathedral of country music.

The Grand Ole Opry started out as a live radio show in 1925, and was housed in the Ryman starting in 1943 and remained there until 1974, when it moved to its current, larger location.  In the center of the new stage, there’s a six-foot circle of oak that came from the Ryman stage, symbolically and literally the heart of the theatre.

Even if you’re not a country music fan, the Grand Ole Opry is a sight to behold.  It’s still a live radio show, every Saturday night.  It also airs on television.  But to be there is an experience.

Because unbeknownst to listeners, the Opry stage is like a three-ring circus, with something always happening.  While someone is performing, someone who just finished is still out there breaking down, and the next act up is busy getting set up.  Groups of tourists enter and leave the stage, snapping photos and getting autographs if they’re lucky.

In addition to being a show and a venue, the Opry is something of a Hall of Fame as well.  Performers who are deemed worthy are invited to join, and it’s a huge honor.  It’s also a commitment–Opry members are required to perform there a certain number of times per year.

There is a set schedule every week, so when you purchase your tickets, you know who you’ll be seeing.  BUT…  Performers who have a little time available often pop in unannounced, the better to get some of their annual obligation out of the way.

And so it happened that the night we went to the Grand Ole Opry, we were treated to a performance we didn’t expect.  As one act was finishing up, we noticed an increased level of excitement at the side of the stage.

As soon as that performer left the stage, Clint Black and his co-writer Skip Ewing walked out, each carrying an acoustic guitar and a stool.  Sitting on the apron of the stage, they began to play Something That We Do.  The entire place went dark, with only a spotlight on the pair, and for the first time all night, a hush fell over the room, all of us spellbound by this beautiful song.

I remember well the day we wed
I can see that picture in my head
I still believe the words we said
Forever will ring true
Love is certain, love is kind
Love is yours and love is mine
But it isn’t something that we find
It’s something that we do
It’s holding tight, lettin’ go
It’s flying high and laying low
Let your strongest feelings show
And your weakness, too
It’s a little and a lot to ask
An endless and a welcome task
Love isn’t something that we have
It’s something that we do
We help to make each other all that we can be
Though we can find our strength and inspiration independently
The way we work together is what sets our love apart
So closely that you can’t tell where I end and where you start
It gives me heart remembering how
We started with a simple vow
There’s so much to look back on now
Still it feels brand-new
We’re on a road that has no end
And each day we begin again
Love’s not just something that we’re in
It’s something that we do
We help to make each other all that we can be
Though we can find our strength and inspiration independently
The way we work together is what sets our love apart
So closely that you can’t tell where I end and where you start
Love is wide, love is long
Love is deep and love is strong
Love is why I love this song
And I hope you love it too
I remember well the day we wed
I can see that picture in my head
Love isn’t just those words we said
It’s something that we do
There’s no request too big or small
We give ourselves, we give our all
Love isn’t someplace that we fall
It’s something that we do

It’s a moment I’ll never forget.  And I can’t shake the message of the song, that love isn’t somewhere we fall, or something we find, it’s something we do.  Every day.  Every moment.

I hope this evening finds you well, and surrounded by those you love.  Be sure to give them a hug.

Happy Saturday night!

PS–I’m adding another beautiful Clint Black song, this one a duet with his wife, Lisa.  ❤

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Saturday Night Serenade–Happy Easter!

It’s the end of March, the weather is getting warmer, the days are getting longer.  And it’s finally Spring.  Hopefully, it feels that way where you are.

Happy Easter!  It’s a time of renewal and rebirth, a time for peace.  For this week’s serenade, I have a couple of classics from Cat Stevens, or, if you prefer, Yusuf Islam as he’s now known.  I imagine his new name stirs up some feelings for some people.  Who am I to judge?  I call myself Pandora Spocks, for corn’s sake.  😉

What I know is that Morning Has Broken is a sweet reminder of mercies that are new every morning.  And for that, I’m grateful.

And as long as we’re talking Cat Stevens, I couldn’t resist this performance of Peace Train from the 2014 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.  I saw the whole show, and this was the surprise highlight.

This Easter, suppose we embraced peace.  Wouldn’t that be amazing?

I hope you have a wonderful weekend with your family, no matter what holiday you celebrate.  Be sure to hug the ones you love.

Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–Heroes

Tonight’s song is two great tastes that taste great together.  The Foo Fighters join my hero Joan Jett for two of her most iconic songs, Bad Reputation and I Love Rock & Roll.  These classic punk tunes came out in the early 80s, and they aren’t going away anytime soon.

I’ve always said that when I grow up, I want to be Joan Jett.  She was revolutionary, decades ago challenging the notion that women couldn’t be bad-ass rockers.  And she never gave a damn about her bad reputation.  How amazing to free yourself from the concern over what other people think!

That attitude is really the very heartbeat of rock & roll.

It’s also the heartbeat of the new heroes, teenagers who, in the face of tragedy, terror, and abuse from adults who happen to disagree with them, continue to sound off, to call out the hypocrisy they see, and to call for change to make the world a better place.

They don’t give a damn about their bad reputation either.  They just want to feel safe.  And they’re not going away anytime soon.

I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend.  Be sure to hug those you love.

Happy Saturday night!

 

Saturday Night Serenade–Kiss Me, I’m Irish

I LOVE St. Patrick’s Day!   On my bucket list is to pay someone to play Galway Girl in a pub in Galway on St. Patrick’s Day.  So far, this first video is as close as I’ve gotten.  It’s a joyous street celebration!

Tonight, in celebration of all things Eire, I’ve assembled some of my favorite Irish music by some of my favorite Irish bands.  If you’re not familiar with them, it’s a sampling of what’s out there.

To me, the perfect place to celebrate the day is in an Irish bar listening to traditional music.  A few St. Patrick’s Days ago, Mr. R and I spent hours at the James Joyce Irish Pub, a wonderful bar in Tampa’s Ybor City neighborhood.

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We listened to great music and tossed back way too many little green shots before we staggered back to our hotel in the wee hours of the morn.  At one point, Mr. R paid the guy to sing Dirty Old Town.  Here it is by The Pogues.

You can’t celebrate the day without Irish Rover.  This traditional version is by the Dubliners with The Pogues.  Just ignore the bad teeth, it’s brilliant.

The Dropkick Murphys are undoubtedly my favorite jig-punk band, and I was thrilled to go see them last time they came through town.  This is Rose Tattoo.

Again,  here are The Pogues, with If I Should Fall From Grace With God.  Does it seem like  the Irish have something of a fixation on death?

Finally, and if you’re still here, you’re awesome, here’s a set from my favorite Irish band, The Prodigals, at their home bar, Paddy Reilly’s on the lower east side of Manhattan.  I actually DID get to see them here once, and it was magical.

Pull up a stool and raise your pint glass.  Sláinte, hug those you love, and have a happy Saturday night.

Saturday Night Serenade–Take Back the Power OR That Took A Dark Turn

It’s the second weekend of March, and we’re ‘springing forward’ tonight.  Don’t forget.  And if the Florida legislature has their way, this will be the last time Mr. R and I have to change our clocks.  They’ve voted to remain on Daylight Savings Time from now on.

Which, on the one hand, is great.  My feeling is, just pick one time and let me know.  On the other hand, however, when everyone else ‘falls back’, the entire state of Florida will be all jacked up.  The 6:30 national news will come on at 7:30.  The Times Square ball will drop at 1:00 am New Years Day.  Everything will be all wonky.

But who am I to complain?  Just a lowly taxpayer.  The state legislature also came up with the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act, which Gov. Rick Scott signed, in response to the outcry following the horrific events of a few weeks ago.  While far from perfect, it’s a good start, particularly from a Republican governor to whom I usually refer as a dick with eyes.

The legislation limits gun sales to persons over the age of 21, among other things.  It also allocates serious fundage for mental health initiatives.  And it sets aside money to beef up school security.

Of course, there are those against the plan.  The NRA is even suing the state, citing 2nd Amendment violations.  I hesitate to wade into politics.  Everyone is so hateful.  But I’m for a little reform.

Some will call me a liberal.  Go ahead, if that makes you feel superior.  I’m neither Republican nor Democrat.  I’m a registered Independent voter.  I just look around for somebody who makes sense.  And I have guns in my home.  Nobody’s trying to take away your guns.  We’re just trying to keep kids safe.  I’d hope that, at least, is something we all have in common.

I’m feeling all punky tonight.  So this little song from The Interrupters speaks to my soul.  Wherever you fall on the issues, I hope you take a moment to see it from the other side.  And hugs your kids tight.  Because some parents in Parkland can’t do that tonight.

Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–Mr. R’s Birthday

We’re celebrating Mr. R’s birthday this weekend!

His birthday happens to be the same day as one of my brothers’, and that’s really neither here nor there.  But around this time, I always start thinking about how thankful I am to have him in my life.

I always refer to Mr. R as my ‘happily ever after.’  And he is.

I spent a long time married to my nightmare.  Last week, I alluded to my #MeToo story.  Nightmare is the star of that tale.

After that ended, a few years down the road when I had my feet under me a little, I thought it might be nice to meet someone new.  I wasn’t looking for someone who made me happy–I didn’t aim that high.  I just hoped for someone who didn’t make me unhappy.

But my broken road led me to a man who makes me laugh every day, from our first date, when he ordered a strawberry daiquiri with an exaggeratedly deep voice, to the songs that he intentionally butchers (most recently, changing the words to We Built This City to We Milk These Titties), and more than I could possibly tell you about.  He brings me flowers all the time, just because he wants to.  He makes me feel loved and cherished, honored and protected.  And I’m beyond thankful for him.

That’s what I think of when his birthday rolls around.  I have a couple of gifts for him: a nice leather messenger bag to use in his real estate work, a Starbucks gift card for his espresso, and a bakery decorated carrot cake (in spite of the fact that he’d diabetic).  But really, on his birthday, I’m reminded that he is a gift to me.

We’ll be going out to a nice dinner Sunday night.  We have reservations at the Capital Grille, and they know it’s his birthday.  Tonight, we’ll just chill here at home.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend.  Hug those you love.  Happy Saturday night!

“Bless The Broken Road”
(originally by Nitty Gritty Dirt Band)

I set out on a narrow way many years ago
Hoping I would find true love along the broken road
But I got lost a time or two
Wiped my brow and kept pushing through
I couldn’t see how every sign pointed straight to you

[Chorus:]
Every long lost dream led me to where you are
Others who broke my heart they were like Northern stars
Pointing me on my way into your loving arms
This much I know is true
That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you
(Yes He did)

I think about the years I spent just passing through
I’d like to have the time I lost and give it back to you
But you just smile and take my hand
You’ve been there you understand
It’s all part of a grander plan that is coming true.

[Chorus]

Yeah.

Now I’m just rolling home
Into my lover’s arms
This much I know is true
That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you.

That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you.

 

Saturday Night Serenade–Staying Woke

For the last week and a half, we’ve been mourning the loss of 17 in south Florida.  And we’ve been reminded of those we lost in Columbine, and Sandy Hook, and Las Vegas, and Texas, and Orlando, and countless other places.  Senseless losses that should capture our attention and strengthen our determination to solve the problems that led us there, to keep it from happening again.

But in the ‘short attention span theatre’ that is the 21st century news cycle, the cause just before Parkland was #MeToo and #TimesUp, the social movement that is calling out sexism and misogyny.    It’s been posited that every woman you know, along with many men, has her own Me Too story.  I know I do.  Maybe one day I’ll write about it.

It’s astounding, really, that for so long we’ve all excused sexual predation as ‘locker room talk’ and ‘boys being boys’.  Clue: It’s NOT okay.  It NEVER was.

I’m hopeful that now that the dialogue has begun, it will continue, that we’ll move forward more enlightened, treating EVERYONE with respect and compassion.  EVERYONE.  Now that we’re woke, let’s stay woke, amen?

I heard this song, Female by Keith Urban, the other day, and it touched my heart.  I’m including the official lyric version, too, because words are important.

I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend.  Be sure to honor the women in your life, and hug the people you love.  Happy Saturday night!