The featured photo is what got me to thinking about the “dream season” on Dallas. I shared that photo in 2020 and it generated discussion. I went to look at the original post and was reminded of what it was like in 2020… in 2023, it seems like a nightmare we woke up from, even though people are still getting COVID. Naturally, this post isn’t JUST about that, though… it’s a hodgepodge of thoughts, as usual.
This morning, I found out that we lost yet another musical legend. Gordon Lightfoot, a Canadian singer-songwriter with a distinctive voice and beautiful, intricate, guitar laced melodies, passed the bar yesterday. He was 84 years old. While it’s always sad to lose a luminary, I’d say Gord had a good run. As a child of the 70s, his music touched me deeply and was a big part of my soundtrack. I’d say he was one of a few artists my dad and I could agree on when we took roadtrips. Unfortunately, my dad would try to sing along, which always annoyed me.
I wish I could say I enjoyed listening to my dad’s singing voice as much as other people did. I’m not sure why, but it was like nails on a chalkboard to me. I used to get in trouble a lot when I was very young, because I’d stick my fingers in my ears during his church choir solos. I never quite lived that down, either.
My mom got so she could laugh about it. I’m sure they just thought I was being a brat, but it really was uncomfortable for me to listen to my dad sing. That was just one of our many disagreements over the years. Maybe it would have helped him to know that I have similar physical reactions when I listen to Celine Dion and Barbra Streisand, although I can acknowledge that both are fantastically talented singers. I don’t think Dad was as good as they are, but he did have a voice that many people enjoyed. I simply wasn’t one of his fans. I wasn’t, even before our relationship became more difficult.
But we had other issues besides his singing… I don’t think my dad liked me very much. He took out a lot of his frustrations on me. I remember him being much nicer to me when I was very young, except when I misbehaved. Then he’d become scary. But when I was very little, he seemed to think I was much cuter. When I got older and formed opinions, and exhibited some of the very same argumentative qualities he had, he liked me noticeably less. But he was there every day… and he was a good provider. My dad wasn’t a bad man. We simply didn’t get along. Sometimes, your relatives turn out to be people you’d never befriend.
In any case, I’m sitting here listening to old Gordon Lightfoot songs, wondering if maybe I might like to try one today. I’m shuffling through my memories, remembering how it was not so long ago that people were panicking about face masks and social distancing. I remember how stressful it was, as people were discouraged from venturing out anywhere. Everything was closed, so people spent too much time on the Internet. I already spend too much time on it myself, but suddenly, people were becoming more and more polarized. I know it was a reaction to the extreme stress of the time… a mysterious virus that was legitimately threatening people’s lives, and people talking like the whole world was going to change forever.
In 2023, it all seems like that time was just a bad dream…
I write this, even though in 2022, there were still a lot of places requiring facemasks and people were expected to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. But even in 2022, the concern about it was waning, in spite of the constant doom porn from the media. As a former student of public health, I had a feeling this would all be better within a couple of years. It turns out I was right. People developed immunity, as they do… and we got vaccines. Still, so many people were lost to that virus. It’s just so strange that it’s now kind of a bad memory, not unlike the “dream season” on Dallas.
Of course, COVID wasn’t just a bad dream. It was a literal living nightmare. But, as I like to say, every cloud has its silver lining. If you think hard enough about any given situation, there’s usually at least one positive to come out of it. Even really horrible things in history have their positives… if only because people learn from their mistakes and policies finally change.
Living in Germany for almost nine years (this time) has taught me that the horrific Hitler era taught profound things that has made most western Europeans more knowledgeable about, and vigilant against, fascism. The Holocaust was an absolutely horrible way to get that experience, of course… but at least they did get it. At least they were educated by it. It would be much more tragic if no one learned anything from that time. Today, all German children learn about the horrors of the past, so it will be less likely to be repeated. I just wish more Americans would open their eyes to that era and learn where we could be headed if things don’t change. Unfortunately, people often fail to look beyond what’s two feet in front of them.
Still, there are some glimmers of hope… and thanks to the Internet, we can all now connect in ways that were once unimaginable. And while sometimes, it seems like everyone is angry and wanting to fight, there are still moments when connection happens and we can stand in solidarity.
Yesterday’s post was about how I was reminded of what really matters. I wrote about how I had trouble writing for some time… and then kind of managed to shake off the fear. I heard from people who like what I do, which was much appreciated. I look back at 2020 and realize I’m glad I survived that year. I’m glad the worst of it seems to be over for now, especially given all of the other stuff going on now… And, although I’m always sorry when someone beloved passes, there’s also some good in that. For instance, right now, I’m listening to a song Gordon Lightfoot wrote in the 1960s, hearing other people’s interpretations of it, and thinking I’ll try it myself. Twenty-four hours ago, this music wasn’t on my radar at all…
I wish I’d appreciated Gordon Lightfoot more when he was still living. I do own a lot of his albums, but I never paid as much attention to them as I obviously should have. But the good thing is, I still have time to discover more.
I’m going to give this song a whirl… maybe I’ll post the link here, if it turns out okay.
Along with a follow up…