Posts Tagged With: lyrics

An Ode to Joy

How many times have you sung along to a song, not completely certain of the lyrics?  A few hundred at least? Yeah, me too. When you do find out the actual lyrics it sometimes changes how you feel about the song. Or it just makes the song make more sense.

Three and a half weeks after those first ominous days of uncertainty after her stroke, I watched my Mom sit down at a grand piano in a quiet wing of the hospital cafeteria. Her occupational therapist sat nearby as she put both hands on the black and white keys and played a simplified version of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy.”

Surely orchestrated by some angel in charge of perfectly timed moments, for me that brief experience felt like serendipity!  That song played within an hour of arriving at the hospital, captured my emotions at finally, blessedly being with Mom after so many weeks of enduring the tug and pull of needing to be in her physical presence.

Page 12 (right) of Ludwig van Beethoven's orig...

Page 12 (right) of Ludwig van Beethoven’s original Ninth Symphony manuscript. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Every time I’ve heard “Ode to Joy,” especially the final movement when the chorus joins the symphony and raises the roof with Schiller’s German poem put to music, my heart has soared.

Imagine how my heart felt then, hearing my Mother, a pianist all her life, play the piano again, albeit, hesitantly. Relief, at her ability to read music and have it translate from eye to brain to hand to ivory, flooded through me. Surely as more healing takes place, as more therapy trains and retrains synapses and connections, she’ll be able to sit down and enjoy playing the piano with ease and confidence again.

I’ve never known the translation of the German lyrics. I only knew that my head and heart responded to the music with a sense of exultation and energy.

Surely, I thought, as I watched Mom struggle through some other simplified piano music, the lyrics to “Ode to Joy” must be very powerful to lend themselves so strongly to the impact of the music.  Of course, I looked up the translation and wasn’t surprised.

Sorry to say it wasn’t a poem about the joy of a mother and daughter reunited. But it’s not far off. It’s a song of brotherhood, of relationships, of the joy that can occur because of those connections.

Honestly, the whole of humankind is a family. The potential for joy astounds when looked at that way. But of course, we personalize and take things in small bites. We learn how to interact in family groups and then let that translate out into the world.

That’s just my take on the music and lyrics.

But don’t take my word for it. I’ve included the English translation below.  And I also want you to be able to feel the joy in this music, so, of course, I’ve included a phenomenal flashmob link for you to click on. I recommend having tissues nearby.

Now that I know what the lyrics are, it changes how I feel about the music. From here on out it will remind me of my mother, of my family, of those most important of connections. Those permanent bonds of love and caring bring more joy than anything I know.

Joy, bright spark of divinity,
Daughter of Elysium,
Fire-inspired we tread
Thy sanctuary.
Thy magic power re-unites
All that custom has divided,
All men become brothers
Under the sway of thy gentle wings.

Whoever has created
An abiding friendship,
Or has won
A true and loving wife,
All who can call at least one soul theirs,
Join in our song of praise ;
But any who cannot must creep tearfully
Away from our circle.

All creatures drink of joy
At nature’s breast.
Just and unjust
Alike taste of her gift ;
She gave us kisses and the fruit of the vine,
A tried friend to the end.
Even the worm can fell contentment,
And the cherub stands before God !

Gladly, like the heavenly bodies
Which He set on their courses
Through the splendour of the firmament ;
Thus, brothers, you should run your race,
As a hero going to conquest.

You millions, I embrace you.
This kiss is for all the world !
Brothers, above the starry canopy
There must dwell a loving Father.
Do you fall in worship, you millions ?
World, do you know your Creator ?
Seek Him in the heavens !
Above the stars must He dwell.

Categories: Hope, Joy, Music | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Best Love Song I’ve Heard in Ages

Yup! That’s the way I’m calling it. The best love song I’ve heard in ages.

“The Woman I Love”

The first time I heard it was on Pandora, the live version of a simple guitar and Jason Mraz with his relaxed song styling.

Pleasantly surprising, refreshing.

But even more I found words and music that said what I’ve tried to explain for years.

I could be wrong but I think this is how most women want to be loved. Unconditionally, no matter what, regardless of our craziness, or our moods, or frustrations or tiredness or self-loathing. We just want what this song describes.

Well, I do anyway.

So I’m posting two versions for you to enjoy. First is the version I heard, live, just the guitar and Jason. The lyrics are there if you want to follow along. Or, you could close your eyes and just take in the song.

Then the second one is the official video with the backup band and visual interpretation. I prefer just to hear the words with the tune, get the meaning in my head, not someone else’s idea of what it means.

Either way, Thank you Jason Mraz, for a great love song in an era with so few really good ones.

“I’m holding steady, my heart’s at home…”


Categories: Love, Music | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Guest Post: Can You Say Stranded with a Country-Western Drawl? (#2)

Song lyrics often have unusual roots.  One of my daughter’s penciled the lyrics to a song once, while we were stranded, after another one of our infamous car breakdowns. She even put the lyrics to music, which our family and a few of our friends have been privileged to hear over and over again. Unfortunately,  it’s never been recorded.  You’ll have to imagine your own tune to go with the delightful word stylings of this charming child.

As her perspective is unique, quirky and more entertaining than mine., I naturally, I asked my daughter to guest post this particular tale of being stranded. She’s available for interviews, guest appearances and autographs every other Thursday.

Please enjoy Leanne LeCheminant’s version of Another Stranded Tale of Insanity, Silliness, and Misery:

“If you are a devoted reader of Kami’s blog (or MeeMa, as I affectionately call her), then you are well acquainted with the fact that my family has no shortage of car trips.  We also have had more than our share of crappy cars.

Crappy cars + lots of car trips = lots of crappy car trip stories.

Blessedly, most unfortunately, since I have been married, I haven’t been able to participate in nearly as many memorable family car trips, which may explain why all of my car trip memories are kind of blurred together; it’s been so long.  Or maybe it’s because most of them occurred along the same route between Arizona and Utah.  Or maybe it’s because there’s just been so many of them, and they’ve all been so endless, insane, and 97% of the time they involve being stranded.

English: view of the Monument Valley, Between ...

View of the Monument Valley, Between Arizona and Utah. We don’t really drive through here ever, but some parts of our trip look similar to this dry, arid landscape. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

(It’s funny: when discussing car trips with my family, one of us will inevitably ask, “Wait, was that the trip where we were stranded in (insert remote location in the vast desert of northern AZ/southern UT) or (insert other remote location in the vast desert of northern AZ/southern UT)?”)

There is one trip in particular however, that will be forever seared in my brain, maybe because we actually WEREN’T making the exodus between Arizona and Utah.  No, this car trip was much more local.  It was a camping trip just outside Payson, Arizona.  From our humble abode in the suburban east valley of Arizona, Payson is only about two hours away, a breeze compared to the 11 to 15 hour journey to Utah.

I was probably around ten or twelve, and  I’m pretty sure it was the middle of summer.  My dad, being the wilderness man that he is and always-eager to escape the 115 frillion degree heat of an Arizona summer, announced that he was going camping, and whoever wanted to come was welcome.  My mom of course joined in, craving the familiar smell of pine and fresh mountain air, as well as myself and my younger sister.

After loading our older white Mazda Van with gear, we piled in and headed out.  We blasted the air conditioner and slowly cooled down as we left the greater Phoenix area.  After about a half hour though, Dad switched off the AC.

Yet again the Land Rover overheats in the desert

A familiar scene on our road trips. (Photo credit: Steve & Jemma Copley)

“Hey, why’d you turn it off?” I complained.

“The car’s starting to overheat.  We’re going to give it a break.”

I groaned.  I knew (still know) approximately 0.4% about cars, but I had had plenty of experience with the word “overheat.”  I said a silent prayer that our trusty Van would carry us through.

My prayer must have bounced off the drooping fabric ceiling though, because one very miserable and  sweaty hour later, we had to stop at a gas station in Payson.  The car was smoking, the engine was completely overheated, and there was no way we’d be able to trek up the ever-steepening inclined roads to our desired remote camping location, probably another half hour to an hour away.  Conveniently, there was an auto shop right next to the gas station.

“Kami, why don’t you take the girls inside where it’s cool and get some drinks,” my dad said.  “I’ll take it next door to get it checked out.”

English: Texaco Petrol Station in Poá (São Pau...

NOT the actual Texaco we stopped at. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The three of us eagerly jumped out of the car and collectively sighed in relief as the wave of cool air washed over us as we walked in.  When the door opened it let out an electronic signal, sounding like a door bell: “Ding-dong.”

We got a couple of bottles of soda and sat down at a table in the snack area, cooling off and watching the heat undulate off the asphalt outside.

My sister and I, being as young as we were, quickly got bored.  The gas station was pretty busy, customers in and out, and the door kept ringing, “Ding dong” every time it opened.  Every time it would “ding-dong” I would respond by singing the corresponding part of a song from the movie, The Wizard of Oz: “The witch is dead!”  Now, the gas station was pretty busy, so the number of my responses of “The witch is dead!” piled up quick.  So did my younger sister’s annoyance.

“Arrrrrrgh, Leanne, shut UP!”

Of course this just egged me on, and I would laugh and then whisper it, but still loud enough for her to hear:


ME (whispering): The witch is dead! *giggle giggle*

LITTLE SISTER: Leanne, shut UP!

I think it was my Mom’s brilliant idea to distract me by suggesting I write a song about our adventure.  She pulled a paper napkin out of the dispenser, slapped it in front of me with a pencil and said, “I’m going to go see how the car’s doing.  You two stay here.”

My sister gave her a look as if to say, “Really, you’re going to leave me here with her?!?!?” but I just grinned.  My wheels were already turning.

The ONE AND ONLY ORIGINAL someday-worth-millions NAPKIN.

The ONE AND ONLY ORIGINAL someday-worth-millions NAPKIN.

Over the next hour or so, I penned my one and only undiscovered top-of-the-charts, platinum-award-winning country song, on a napkin, with a pencil, at a gas station:

STRANDED IN PAYSON (copyrighted 2001 ish)
Stranded in Payson in a Texaco, by the side of the road.
Five thirty on a Friday afternoon.
And every time a customer walks into the store
the door rings ding dong.
So I say:
Ding dong the witch is dead
ding dong the witch is dead
ding dong the car is dead toooooo
and I wish that I was dead
just like the witch and the car.
Yes, ding dong the witch is dead.
Ma ‘n Pa went to go check on the car,
but I’m pretty sure that it’s still dead.
My sis and I are so bored we’re playing with bottle caps
and a customer just walked in through the door.
So I sing:
Ding dong the witch is dead,
ding dong the witch is dead!
Ding dong the car is dead tooooo.
And I wish that I was dead
just like the witch and the car.
Yes, ding dong the witch is dead.
Cuz bein’ dead would be much better 
than bein’ stranded
in Payson
in a Texacoooooooo-oh-woah-woah
ding dong the witch is dead!
Ding dong the car is dead toooooo!
And I wish that I was dead,
just like the witch and the car.
Yes, ding dong the witch is dead.
Stranded in Payson in a Texaco
by the siiiiiiiiide of
the roooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooad.

[Definitely an award winning song, don’t ya’ think?]

After a couple of hours at the car shop, our little Van was ready and rarin’ to go.

Looking up at the Mogollon Rim east of Payson ...

Looking up at the Mogollon Rim east of Payson Arizona (Photo credit: Al_HikesAZ)

Napkin in hand, song completed, my future stardom in country music ensured, we hopped in. I bid a fond farewell to my beloved Texaco, and miraculously, we even made it to a camping spot before it got dark.

Camping was relaxing and enjoyable, and we got home okay, as I recall, so of course we all said, “We’ll have to do this again sometime!”

(Oh and yes, I know I totally could have been the next Taylor Swift.  But I wisely decided to forego the celebrity lifestyle.  Just way too much riches and fame for me).”

Categories: Family, Humor, Travel | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

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