Saturday Night Serenade–Fighter

The world’s a crazy place anymore.  I mean, where do you start?

Today, I’m thinking about the conviction of Bill Cosby on charges of sexual assault.  Who would have thought?  I loved him from the time I was a kid.  It’s unsettling to realize that someone can appear to be one thing, yet be so completely other.

I’ve alluded to my #MeToo story.  I was married to a man who seemed to be charming and funny.  And he was.  To everyone else.  Looking back with older, more educated eyes, I realize that he is a narcissist in the most classic sense.

In our home, I lived a private hell, where he abused me mentally, emotionally, and sexually.  His treatment was insidious, starting gradually.  He’d amp it up, then draw way back, convincing me that any given incident was an anomaly.  Until the next time.

Around us, everyone thought he was the greatest person ever.  And there was no one I could talk to–he had me convinced that I was simply a prude, that I was defective.  (Hello, gaslighting!)  He also threatened to take away my kids, and I believed he could do it.

When I finally decided I’d had enough, I had no job, no car, and no money.  But with a little support from my parents I was able to get on my feet and support myself and the kids (turns out, he didn’t really want them, go figure).

That was years ago, and I’ve since met and married my happily ever after.  With my kids grown and gone, I don’t have any interaction with my nightmare.

The last time I saw him was three years ago at the wedding of our younger son.  I don’t have the energy to hate him, and I would never put my son in a bad position by causing a scene.

But what I realized is that now that I’m on the outside, I get the charming, smiling nightmare.  I was all smiles and hugs, but on the inside I was all, “I’m not buying it, dude, I know who you ARE.”

I drew the line, however, when he sat next to me at the picnic reception.  I got up to get something to drink and returned to sit on the other side of Mr. R.  I can be nice and civil, but don’t act like nothing happened, because we both know.

Anyway, Fighter by Christina Aguilera is a fitting sentiment.  I suppose it’s the bad things that make us stronger.  I want to believe that, otherwise all the hell has no purpose.

I hope you’re having a nice. relaxing weekend.  Can you believe Memorial Day is just around the corner?  Be sure to hug those you love.

Happy Saturday night!

 

 

 

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Saturday Night Serenade–Cantios Obscurum

The 2018 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony was last Saturday night in Cleveland.  Next month, they’ll show it on HBO, and I can’t wait.  Among this year’s  inductees is one of my favorite bands, Bon Jovi.  I’ve loved them since their big hair days of the 80s.

This obscure little song was tucked at the end of 1988’s New Jersey, and I’ve always thought it was cheeky fun.

Speaking of cheeky fun, I’ll follow up with a little shout-out to yesterday, 4/20.  It’s one of Toby Keith’s ‘bus songs’ and it’s a lot of fun, too.

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

Happy Saturday night!

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.  ❤

Saturday Night Serenade–Standing Outside the Fire

Need a little inspiration tonight?

I spent a few hours today with some of the most amazing people.  Horses That Help is an organization right in my own neighborhood that puts special needs kids on horses every first Saturday of the month.

Mr. R has been a volunteer with them for a while, but today was my first time.  I usually spend Saturday working, but they were short on ‘side walkers’ this time, so I agreed to go.

They’ve been doing these monthly events for years, and they have it down to a science.  While an experienced horse person leads each horse, two side walkers stand on either side of the rider, ensuring that he or she doesn’t fall off.

I’ve heard it said before, and today, I witnessed it for myself–there is a transformation that occurs when you put a kid on horse.  I did three 25-minute rounds, and met three great kids.  HTH doesn’t make a big deal about pointing out specific disabilities, but I’m guessing my new friends were on the ‘spectrum’.  Without exception, once these kids were perched in the saddle, their faces lit up, and they chatted easily about everything under the sun.

One kid screamed and thrashed around as the adults put him on a Shetland pony called Icee.  But once they got moving, the boy’s screams turned to infectious giggles.  It was amazing.

Better yet, the transformations I saw weren’t just the kids.  The parents lit up,  too, watching their special needs kids smiling and laughing and having a great time.  They waved and took photos and videos as we passed by.  I imagine those moments are few and far between in those homes.  What a treat to be able to relax, and for half an hour let someone else care for your child in a loving, judgement-free place.

Tonight’s serenade is Standing Outside the Fire by Garth Brooks.  The theme of the song is that if you never really put yourself out there, break out of your comfort zone, you never really live.   The staff of HTH and the families who take advantage of their free program know exactly what it is to dance within the flame.  They do it everyday.

I’m exhausted.  We must have walked miles around and around the enclosure.  My right arm is stiff from holding onto the saddle to keep the kids from sliding off.  It was close to 90 degrees and the sun was relentless.

But I know where I’ll be May 5.

Maybe you know what it is to dance withing the flame yourself.  If not, it might be the right time to give it a whirl.

I hope you’re enjoying your weekend.  Be sure to hug those you love.  Happy Saturday night!

AND…
I’m including the link to HTH’s website.
Check it out.
There’s even a picture of Icee.
And there’s a place to donate if you feel so led.
I know they’d really appreciate it.

Horses That Help

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.