Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Lovely Lyrics From a Long Ago Time

Have you ever had a song play in your mind?  At first you just let it play over and over, then you start to think, “Wait, what is this song and why am I thinking of it?”  And then you start to add a word or two to the tune and before long you find yourself putting a phrase here, and a word there, like a puzzle until you have a coherent stanza or chorus.

Lately, I realized I had The Man Upstairs, a 1959 song by Kay Starr, playing in my head.  In about half a day, I had the chorus pieced together.

Have you talked to the Man upstairs
'Cause he wants to hear from you
Have you talked to the Man upstairs
He will always see you through.

That song got me to thinking about other songs from the fifties that were unabashedly about faith and were high on the pop charts.  Such as Frankie Laine’s 1953 song, I Believe.

I believe for every drop of rain that falls
A flower grows,
I believe that somewhere in the darkest night
A candle glows,
I believe for everyone who goes astray,
Someone will come to show the way,
I believe, I believe.

I believe above the storm a smallest prayer
Will still be heard,
I believe that someone in the great somewhere
Hears every word,
Every time I hear a newborn baby cry,
Or touch a leaf, or see the sky,
Then I know why,
I believe.

Can you imagine that song being played on the radio now?  Here’s another one.  He by Al Hibbler in 1955.

He can turn the tides and calm the angry sea
He alone decides who writes a symphony
He lights ev'ry star that makes the darkness bright
He keeps watch all through each long and lonely night

He still finds the time to hear a child's first prayer
Saint or sinner calls and always finds him there
Though it makes him sad to see the way we live
He'll always say "I forgive"

He can touch a tree and turn the leaves to gold
He knows every lie that you and I have told
Though it makes him sad to see the way we live
He'll always say "I forgive"

Imagine that!  A pop song telling you not to sin or lie, and to say your prayers!  The songs we hear today tell a much different story.  

In 1954 Patti Page sang a song called, Cross Over the Bridge.

Cross over the bridge
Cross over the bridge
Change your reckless way of livin'
Cross over the bridge
Leave you fickle past behind you
And true romance will find you
Brother, cross over the bridge.

And then there’s He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands by Laurie London, and Wink Martindale’s Deck of Cards.   

Is it any wonder that the “Fabulous Fifties” were Happy Days?  Whatever our parents and teachers didn't teach us, the radio did.  We had values, morals, and a strong belief system that lived well past Sunday morning.  Truly, the "good" ol’ days.

Did I forget a song?  Share your list with me.  I'd love to hear from you.

Today's Quote:  God wants to talk to each of us; we merely need to start the conversation in prayer or meditation and patiently listen.  Mark Victor Hansen.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Birth of a Nation; Birth of Willard Manor

This week we celebrate July Fourth and our country’s 237th birthday.  My how the country has grown!  From a fledgling rudimentary sparsely populated land to a well-connected, highly evolved (invention-wise) nation with all the latest gidgets and gadgets.  Thomas Jefferson would be lost in any office today--from getting there in an automobile, to hearing the constant din of telephones, fax machines, printers, and piped in music, to say nothing of having the world glow before him on a computer screen.  The quill pen in his hand would be useless with no ink bottles in sight.

All of this preamble is a sneaky way of letting you know about my new novel due out soon, called Willard Manor.  Willard Manor is a house, built in 1840, by John Willard, in a fictitious town in the middle of Connecticut.  As the country grows and changes, so, too, does Willard Manor.  Many generations of one family occupy this house over a period of 170 years and each generation “modernizes” it to some extent by adding indoor plumbing, electricity, a telephone, septic tank, and, eventually, a television set.  And along the way, the horse in the shed is replaced by a Model T Ford.

In researching for this novel, I learned many interesting things.  Among them:
How to build lath and plaster walls
The route of the Underground Railroad
When telephones and electricity were available for the masses
When polio was rampant and its treatment
How to build a still during Prohibition
The Civil War, WWI And WWII
The Great Depression
How to grow marijuana.

In reading this book, you will become aware that Willard Manor is a micro version of the United States.  It grows and expands, has heartaches and victories, births and deaths, yet, through it all, it stands strong, ready to face the future.

I will let you know when Willard Manor is available both on Amazon and on Kindle.

Here’s a short excerpt from the book:
“Listen,” said Shelley.  “Can’t you hear the voices?”  
Tony raised his eyebrows.  “Excuse me, but exactly what voices do you hear? Should I be calling the men in the white coats?”
“No, silly, I’m perfectly sane.  I just know this house is trying to tell us something.  So many people lived here over the years, so much has happened, right in these very rooms.  I wish I knew their stories.” 
Today’s Quote:  Every blade of grass has its angel that bends over it and whispers, 'Grow, grow.'  The Talmud