Angel From Montgomery

I think music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music. –Billy Joel

Today on the way home from work I remembered a time not too long ago that I had a job doing wood repair and grading at a lumber mill.  The machine I worked on, called a plugger, was older than my mother and made of 100% steel.  It resembles a sewing machine, well a sewing machine the size of a truck, but its job is to patch holes in various grades of wooden veneer.  It runs on steam.  It is very loud.  My machine was in the corner of a massive mill and for the most part, people left me alone.  The whole mill was loud–so loud that you could sing to yourself, at the top of your lungs and no one would be able to hear you unless they were right up on your platform. To help my memory, because why not, I decided to learn new songs.  So I sang. I looked up the lyrics and tried to sing all the way through without a mistake.  I learned 5 or 6 new songs doing this.  Singing became a part of my work life.  It helped the time pass and, well, it really felt good.

BODY MEMORY

A musical friend of mine shared the phrase “body memory” with me.  She would learn a new song on her guitar and the vocals, practice over and over until the song was memorized by, as she put it, her whole body.  I love that idea!  It seemed to me once a song has body memory for you, you should be able to play with it a bit, expand, embellish, change it up some.

Angel From Montgomery was a song I practiced and practiced.  The lyrics told a powerful story.  I attached myself to them.  They became my history and life with each turn telling the story.  I thought by embracing the lyrics I could achieve body memory.  One day in mid-chorus I realized, Angel From Montgomery REALLY is my story.  My middle name IS my mother’s first.  My father was a true dreamer who never grew up.  I married a “free ramblin’ man” and we drifted apart over time.  I found myself on the backside of a 20-year marriage in a blink, unhappy, disappointed in myself, and needing some help.  How did Bonnie sing my future with such feeling?  In 1971 did the writer John Prine have a dream of me crying in my dishwater?  They don’t know me.  The music–the music knows us all.  It finds us like water to the sea.  Words and rhythm befriend our misery and gradually a sad, lonely, middle-aged woman plugging veneer in the corner of a 100-year-old mill feels no longer alone…

What song has moved you?


Lyrics

I am an old woman
Named after my mother
My old man is another
Child who’s grown old
If dreams were lightning
And thunder were desire
This old house would’ve burned down
A long time ago

Make me an angel
That flies from Montgomery
Make me a poster
Of an old rodeo
Just give me one thing
That I can hold on to
To believe in this livin’
Is just a hard way to go

When I was a young girl
Well, I had me a cowboy
He weren’t much to look at
Just a free ramblin’ man
But that was a long time
And no matter how I tried
The years just flowed by
Like a broken down dam

chorus

There’s flies in the kitchen
I can hear ’em there buzzin’
And I ain’t done nothing
Since I woke up today
How the hell can a person
Go to work in the morning
Then come home in the evening
And have nothing to say?

Make me an angel
That flies from Montgomery
Make me a poster
Of an old rodeo
Just give me one thing
That I can hold on to
To believe in this livin’
Is just a hard way to go

To believe in this livin’
Is just a hard way to go

Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: John E Prine
Angel From Montgomery lyrics © Walden Music Inc., Sour Grapes Music Inc.,
Walden Music, Inc., Sour Grapes Music, Inc.

Day 47: Plague and Pestilence

Shower Thoughts: Vehicles today can surf the web, link to your phone, stream music and videos, etc.. but they still can’t perform a simple database lookup to tell you what the check engine light is on for.

My breakfast: strong coffee with coconut creamer, bagel, two hard-boiled eggs with my NEW favorite spice Tajin, which is chili peppers, sea salt and lime. What’s on your plate?

Good morning.  How ya’ doing today?  Are you up with the birds like me? If so imagine the two of us clinking our coffee cups together in a toast for a good day. *cheers*  Although there are many thoughts racing around my mind this morning, I’m just not too sure what to write about. It’s SO much–there are SO many topics.

The way I feel this morning reminds me of what my doctor said when he was mentally preparing me for the birth of my first child 30 years ago. He said something like, “As you know from the childbirth and newborn book I gave you the cervix will expand to 10 cm gradually.  The body will slowly open and prepare the way for the baby to exit the body.  Labor pains are just that—pain.  However, at the peak of labor, when the head and shoulders exit, that is the maximum expansion, alright.  Now, when that happens, the skin, muscles, and other tissue are SO stressed and at their limit, the nerves stop sending pain signals and basically the mother feels no pain.  Now, isn’t that something to look forward to?”  Sounds perfect.  Thanks, doc.  Men say this because they can’t possibly imagine a watermelon exiting their body from ANY hole, much less one that was made specifically for that purpose.  I know he was trying to be encouraging but, well, whatever.

Yesterday I had a write out!  I met with a friend on her front porch for a mask-wearing, 6 feet apart sitting, write out.  She has a cute classic home over in the Sunnyland Neighborhood.  Builders back in the early and mid-1900s understood the value of a good front porch—they are the original SOCIAL PLATFORM.  Our activity feels like we transported back to perhaps the 1950s, waving at neighbors as they walked by, shouting at another asking if they want some tomatoes cages, stuff like that.  This neighborhood is fortunate to be within walking distance of a great grocery store, bus lines, and parks.  In Bellingham, we are allowed to walk outside without citation but advised to not travel too far or too much or with too many people. This is to help reduce the chances of accidents in an effort to keep the hospital free from preventable causes.  In addition to friendly foot traffic, my friend also has many bird visitors.  She throws out some saltines to a crow she recognizes and then says to me “LOOK! He’s going to burying it up in that houses roof gutter”, and he does.

Later she offers me some sun tea she made.  I accept…and then there is another sign that the times are not themselves.  The freshly poured glass of tea is placed on the table. I wait for her to sit down, and then I stand to retrieve it.  It is possibly too dangerous, too rude, or hostile to be close enough to HAND someone something with an unloved hand.  Are we two ladies enjoying sun tea on a fine May afternoon, or are we masked rebels toying with death?

 

Here is an old poem I found in my notebook.  Think I’ll play with it a bit more.

The Salting Room
or Watching Cooking Shows Home Sick with the Flu (April 2019)
by Shannon Laws

The butcher knows if the pig was happy

red cow parmesan from a free-range life tastes better
solid and liquid
curds and whey
the Salting Room
20 months- sweet and rich
30 months- amino acids start
40 months- salty-sweet bitter

mother sits at the chair
closest to the kitchen
Fat transforms in the pan
in the oven, in the crock

we laugh and cry cutting onions with friends
I keep my miso to two or three years
hidden and pressed

Roll the dough until
it resists your thumb.
Debone and roll to a
long round roast.

Salt the meat
give it time
###

Here is my current mood expressed in a meme.  Enjoy your day my friendly bot.  -S

Poem: Tuesday

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Happy is the heart
That thinks on love
Measuring the value of emotion
Feeling the presence of its girth

Your worth to me is more than flesh.
Consideration, admiration of
the thrusting in this world
Carefully selected conversations
meant to keep me a gentle-lady

If you come through the door
And bring an offering
It will be welcome
Friendship preserved

Consider love
Warm love

Its time to sleep
I’ll dream of you tonight