Hope you're having the day you hoped you'd be having when you started! But if you're not, just try to keep on the sunny side, always on the sunny side! Keep on the sunny side of life! It will help you every day; it will brighten all the way, if you keep on the sunny side of life!
That's a song. I just quoted a song! Wow. Where did that come from?
Oh. I know. That was an old song from the Carter family, the "First Family of Country Music"! Tons of what they sang helped bluegrass music gets that awesome "sound". And in the fall, for some reason, my heart just turns to bluegrass!
I don't really know why. It's hard to explain. (Kind of like the other day…I saw an ol' possum in the road and later I was wondering why I kept humming George Jones songs to myself all morning…)I'm not sure why autumn is bluegrass music season in my heart, but 'bout the time other folks' grass starts to turn brown, mine turns blue!
Maybe it's the soaring harmonies of, say, Bobby and Sonny Osborne singing' "Just A Few Old Memories" that I love so much. And who could forget that syrup-y sweet, unmistakable voice of Lester Flatt? (…"For the finest biscuits ever was, get Martha White self-risin' flour! The one all-purpose flour! It's got hot rise!") And how I wish I could do that Bill Monroe yodel when he sang "the Muleskinner Blues"! (And believe you me, I've tried!)
But when you hear that drivin' Earl Scruggs banjo, isn't there a place in your soul that says, "How could people not believe in a Creator when the world is filled with amazements like this?" One person, John Hartford (a famous banjo player himself) said, "The first time I heard Earl on the radio, I didn't know what to think! I couldn't tell if it was a banjo or if it was lightning bolts from heaven!…And they were coming out of that radio like pile drivers, something like—like, I was going to have to dodge them or something!"
Do remember where you were the first time you heard Earl Scruggs play the banjo?
Bet you do!
Sometimes folks struggle with bluegrass music because they think it borders on the corny. In fact, some believe it's crossed the border and is somewhere out there in the middle of the corn field itself! Sometimes, you'd almost have to admit that some of the lyrics, rolled up together, would make a nice cheese ball. Ol' Bill Monroe wrote a song about a cowboy who lost his horse out in Texas, called "Good Bye, Ol' Pal"
"Along 'bout round-up time In Texas, way out West
I lost a friend and a pal, boys. I laid him down to rest.
I weeped and moaned over his grave and to me boys it was sad
'Cause I knew down beneath that mound lay the best pal I ever had
My best pal was my old paint horse and now he's gone to rest
I laid him down beneath that mound in Texas away out West
But my love for you old pal it shall linger on
I will always think of you although you're dead and gone!"
Corny? OK. Sure. (But Bill yodels on that one, too and it just makes it strangely…believeable!)
Some say that they can't listen to bluegrass or tune into WDVX in the morning because of all those sappy songs about "mother and dad up in heaven" and "my little cabin on the hill" that are just too sentimental, just too emotional, just too much. Bill Monroe, who was the person who "invented' bluegrass music, wrote one of the ones about "mother and dad"...
"Mother left this world of sorrow
Our home was silent and so sad
Dad took sick and had to leave us
I have no home. No mother nor dad
Their souls have gone up to heaven
Where they'll dwell with God above
Where they'll meet there friends and loved ones
And share with all his precious love
There's a little lonesome grave yard
On these tombstones it did say
On mother's 'gone but not forgotten'
On dad's 'we'll meet again someday' "
Bill was the last of eight children and grew up on a poor farm in rural Kentucky. He was severely visually impaired and one eye was directed inward. He was bullied because of it. His mother died when he was ten. His dad died when he was still a teen.
After Bill had become successful leader of his band, "Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys", he had a young singer named Del McCoury, who was struggling to sing the words quite right on that song. They were traveling through Kentucky at the time, so they stopped in the tiny town of Rosine, where Bill was born. He took Del out to the little graveyard and said, "I want you to read what's on those gravestones there" Del said, "So I read them. It said on mother's, 'Gone But Not Forgotten' and on dad's, 'We'll Meet Again Someday' That's what they said."
When Bill wrote…
"I have no home No mother nor dad…"
…he meant it.
Sometimes, if you listen closely to someone's words, you might just hear a hurt that no one else can hear but someone who listens with love. You might just see a tear that no one else sees but one who cares to see it.
When he wrote his second letter to Timothy. Paul was old, lonely, and about to face his death in prison. And at the end of it, he said…
"Do your best to come to me quickly, … When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, and my scrolls, especially the parchments… Do your best to get here before winter." (2 Tim 4:9, 12,21)
Listen. I think I hear him say…
"Please. I need my parchments. I need to read them. Because I'm working hard to stay encouraged. I need my coat. I'm cold. I need you. I'm lonely. Hurry. Please, Tim…"
Did you hear it?
Do you listen?
Are you a listener?
In a world filled with bloggers, instagrammers, FB'ers, and tweeters, who will be the listeners?
Almost everyone has a hurt or a sorrow or a burden to share with someone who will listen.
Every heart needs someone who will listen.
Will you be one?
(And if it gets to be too much, you can go home and play the "Foggy Mountain Breakdown! That'll cheer anyone back up!)