Sunday, July 24, 2016

"If every child on every street, had clothes to wear and food to eat -- that's a miracle."



You never know where it's coming from, or what might trip it.

Bob Youngblood was my high school English teacher. He was a mentor and a friend. He died on Friday, but because it was my responsibility to host the annual family reunion weekend, I pushed it off to the side.

First you do your job, then comes the rest.

On Saturday night, 40 of us descended on Big Four Burgers + Beer (staff was awesome, by the way) for food, drink and socializing. Most of my cousins are older than me, and many have grandchildren. Some of these kids were there at Big Four, for the most part running amok.

Often I'm a Grinch at times like this, but oddly enough, on Saturday their joyful, writhing presence seemed comforting. None of it bothered me.

Closing ceremonies for the reunion came on Sunday morning, with Honey Creme doughnuts and Quills coffee, and then a bout of yard work, and finally a chance to catch up on writing.

Looking at the photograph of Bald Knob (the future Summit Sprigs off State Street), the very first words to come into my head were "Mother Nature does it all for us," a lyric from the Queen song "The Miracle", off the album of the same name.

The fifth and final single was the album’s title track. The Miracle, coupled with a live version of Stone Cold Crazy (recorded in London in 1974) was issued on November 27, and reached No 21 in the UK charts. The accompanying video is one of Queen’s most endearing and memorable, and features four child look-alikes (chosen after weeks of auditions) in the guise of the Queen band members. Directed by the DoRo team and filmed at Elstree studios, the real band members were only seen in the final part of the video, when they join their younger counterparts on stage. After seeing the ‘young Queen’ performing, Freddie was later to quip “Could they do a whole tour for us?”

I wrote the article, then thought it might be nice to hear the song. It had been a while since I'd listened to it. Life is strange. You push play, and before you know it, you're bawling -- because of life, death and all the stages in between.

They're tears of sadness because Bob's no longer with us, and tears of joy at his amazing, enduring legacy.

It's crying because those grandchildren are the future, and because I hope they have a damned future.

You're reaching for the tissues because music can be so deeply redemptive, often when you least expect it.

 Thanks. I really needed that. I'm going to listen to "The Miracle" again. This time, I'm ready.


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