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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
Bright Monday             Monday, April 16 2001

"Our song"

What is it about songs that mark and seem to stick to special occasions, especially interpersonal occasions like falling in—or out of—love? And "special song" occasions are not just romantic ones, and the songs are not always just romantic, either. I've already mentioned that the first "our song" that marked a romance for me, in high school, was Tammy, by Debbie Reynolds. But other songs recall other relationships.

Strangely, I can't hear the "popular" sung version of the Lord's Prayer without remembering the Blacklick High School band, in which I was a member. Every time we took a bus trip, to an away football game, for example, the girls in the band started singing songs, mostly popular songs and ones from music classes, and usually the boys joined in, too. And every time we neared our destination, the band would sing the Lord's Prayer. I don't know when the tradition started, by whom, or how long it lasted after my time in the band, but it was kept without exception in the years I was there. (Maybe members of subsequent classes can tell us if it was kept in their time.)

Also already mentioned was the Jerry Lee Lewis song, Whole Lot of Shakin', that I really heard for the first time when I walked into the high school gym and it was playing, possibly on someone's radio. The lyrics were so silly and funny ("we've got chicken in the barn, whose barn, my barn") that I marvelled to the girl walking with me (I think it was classmate Darlene James) how silly it was; she agreed, and forever since, hearing Whole Lot of Shakin' takes me back to the that warm spring-day lunchtime in the Blacklick gym.

I still connect the swimming hole above While Mill with Jimmy Clanton's Just A Dream (I tried to catch the flavor of this in a reference in the first chapter of my novel, which was online last fall, but this is the "real" scenario). I was walking back a footpath to the "Beach" hole above White Mill, when I encountered three or four Nanty Glo boys whom I knew from seeing around town, but not on familiar terms. One of them was singing "Just a drea-em, justa dream," which struck me as remarkably uncharacteristic of macho punks...and it still strikes me that way.

I suppose "our song" with my one-time wife was A Million to One, by Jimmy Charles (is that an artist's name you remember?...I had not) because it was a song from our respective pasts that seemed to strike us both as extra-special, and we didn't share many opinions on songs, it turned out. Our last movie date before going separate ways was Arthur, so Arthur's Theme has always meant something along the same lines. After the breakup, during the seeming-endless pain, Willie Nelson's You Were Always on My Mind seemed to define my feelings about the failed relationship. Even years after "moving on," two later songs took me back...the one I've touted here as the best song since 1984, Glen Frey's The One You Love, and the Eagles' I Can't Tell You Why.

The first time I heard Glen Frey's song, I was hooked by the first line, "I know you need a friend, someone you can talk to, who will understand what you're going through...." That was me. Still is, and even before marriage, always was (that quest for friends was the theme of my novel, based in my teens). The song's haunting saxophone accompaniment was and remains, bonus.

And the Eagles' song was around for years before I really "heard" it. And when I did ("look at us baby, up all night, tearin' our love apart"), even though it was a decade or nearly two after the marriage ended, I said to myself, "that's what, and how, it was!" And it's been one of "my songs" ever since.

There's even a song which, the first time I heard it and ever since, brings memories of my late brother Gary (and not one of the ones, like Earth Angel, that he used to listen to in the chair next to the radio in the dining room). My "Gary song" is Honey, by Bobby Goldsboro (another artist whose name I didn't recall). The first time I heard it was on my first visit to Los Angeles, when I was living in New Jersey. I was staying at my brother Bob's house with him and his wife in South Pasadena and he let me borrow his huge old Cadillac for a solo drive around the LA basin. Goldsboro's song begins, like Frey's, with a line that grabs me every time: "See the tree how big it's grown, but friend it hasn't been too long it wasn't big...."

When Gary was in high school, three or four years before his tragic death and a decade before Goldsboro's song appeared, he planted a maple seedling in the front yard of our farm home, and our parents' and I had virtually the same conversation about "Gary's twig" being a full-grown tree before I moved away from the farm. Remembering that and the overly sentimental character of the song anyway reduced me to blubbering on my first drive on the San Diego Freeway, also my first drive in a Cadillac, and it can still have that effect. Many probably consider the song manipulative (it is) and not worth hearing...but it went on my play list in the early days of its construction. Solid gold....

Webmaster Jon Kennedy

Easter dress

It was that time during the Sunday morning service for the children's sermon, and all the children were invited to come forward. One little girl was wearing a particularly pretty dress and, as she sat down, the pastor leaned over and said to her, "That is a very pretty dress. Is it your Easter dress?" The little girl replied, directly into the pastor's clip-on microphone, "Yes, and my Mom says it's a bitch to iron."

Sent by Trudy Myers

Do you believe in Easter?

Edith Burns was a wonderful Christian who lived in San Antonio, Texas. She was the patient of a doctor by the name of Will Phillips. Dr. Phillips was a gentle doctor who saw patients as people. His favorite patient was Edith Burns. One morning he went to his office with a heavy heart and it was because of Edith Burns. When he walked into that waiting room, there sat Edith with her big black Bible in her lap earnestly talking to a young mother sitting beside her. Edith Burns had a habit of introducing herself in this way: "Hello, my name is Edith Burns. Do you believe in Easter?" Then she would explain the meaning of Easter, and many times people would be brought into relationship with Jesus Christ.

Dr. Phillips walked into that office and there he saw the head nurse, Beverly. Beverly had first met Edith when she was taking her blood pressure. Edith began by saying, "My name is Edith Burns. Do you believe in Easter?" Beverly said, "Why yes I do." Edith said, "Well, what do you believe about Easter?" Beverly said, "Well, it's all about egg hunts, going to church, and dressing up." Edith kept pressing her about the real meaning of Easter, and finally led her to a personal faith in Jesus Christ.

Dr. Phillips said, "Beverly, don't call Edith into the office quite yet. I believe there is another delivery taking place in the waiting room." After being called back in the doctor's office, Edith sat down and when she took a look at the doctor she said, "Dr. Will, why are you so sad? Are you reading your Bible? Are you praying?" Dr. Phillips said gently, "Edith, I'm the doctor and you're the patient." With a heavy heart, he said, "Your lab report came back and it says you have cancer, and Edith, you're not going to live very long."

Edith replied, "Why Will Phillips, shame on you. Why are you so sad? Do you think God makes mistakes? You have just told me I'm going to see my precious Lord Jesus, my husband, and my friends. You have just told me that I am going to celebrate Easter forever, and here you are having difficulty giving me my ticket!"

Dr. Phillips thought to himself, "What a magnificent woman this Edith Burns is!" Edith continued coming to Dr. Phillips. Christmas came and the office was closed through January 3rd. On the day the office opened, Edith did not show up. Later that afternoon, Edith called Dr. Phillips and said she would have to be moving her story to the hospital and said, "Will, I'm very near home, so would you make sure that they put women in here next to me in my room who need to know about Easter."

They did just that, and women began to come in and share that room with Edith. Many women were brought into relationship with Jesus Christ. Everybody on that floor, from staff to patients, were so excited about Edith, that they started calling her Edith Easter; everyone, that is, except Phyllis Cross, the head nurse. Phyllis made it plain that she wanted nothing to do with Edith because she was a "religious nut." She had been a nurse in an army hospital. She had seen it all and heard it all. She was the original G.I. Jane. She had been married three times, she was hard, cold, and did everything by the book.

One morning, the two nurses who were to attend to Edith were sick. Edith had the flu and Phyllis Cross had to go in and give her a shot. When she walked in, Edith had a big smile on her face and said, "Phyllis, God loves you and I love you, and I have been praying for you."

Phyllis Cross said, "Well, you can quit praying for me, it won't work. I'm not interested." Edith said, "Well, I will pray and I have asked God not to let me go home until you come into the family." Phyllis Cross said, "Then you will never die, because that will never happen," and curtly walked out of the room. Every day, Phyllis Cross would walk into the room and Edith would say, "God loves you Phyllis and I love you, and I'm praying for you."

One day, Phyllis Cross said she was literally drawn to Edith's room like a magnet would draw iron. She sat down on the bed and Edith said, "I'm so glad you have come, because God told me that today is your special day." Phyllis Cross said, "Edith, you have asked everybody here the question, 'Do you believe in Easter?' but you have never asked me."

Edith said, "Phyllis, I wanted to, many times, but God told me to wait until you asked, and now that you have asked..."

Edith Burns took her Bible and shared with Phyllis Cross the Easter Story of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Edith said, "Phyllis, do you believe in Easter? Do you believe that Jesus Christ is alive and that He wants to live in your heart?"

Phyllis Cross said, "Oh I want to believe that with all of my heart, and I do want Jesus in my life." Right there, Phyllis Cross prayed and invited Jesus Christ into her heart. For the first time, Phyllis Cross did not walk out of a hospital room, she was carried out on the wings of angels.

Two days later, Phyllis Cross came in and Edith said, "Do you know what day it is?" Phyllis Cross said, "Why Edith, it's Good Friday." Edith said, "Oh, no, for you, every day is Easter. Happy Easter, Phyllis!"

Two days later, on Easter Sunday, Phyllis Cross came into work, did some of her duties and then went down to the flower shop and got some Easter lilies because she wanted to go up to see Edith and give her some Easter lilies and wish her a Happy Easter.

When she walked into Edith's room, Edith was in bed. That big black Bible was on her lap. Her hands were in that Bible. There was a sweet smile on her face. When Phyllis Cross went to pick up Edith's hand, she realized Edith was dead. Her left hand was on John 14: "In my Father's house are many mansions. I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also." Her right hand was on Revelation 21:4, "And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying; and there shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away." Phyllis Cross took one look at that dead body, and then lifted her face toward heaven, and with tears streaming down here cheeks, said, "Happy Easter, Edith - Happy Easter!"

Phyllis Cross left Edith's body, walked out of the room, and over to a table where two student nurses were sitting. She said, "My name is Phyllis Cross. Do you believe in Easter?"

Sent by Barry Hunt
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