December 1, 2023

My friend Jeanne sent me this video–Starry Starry Night by Don McLean

I think it’s wonderful. I want to go sit in an art gallery looking at real Van Goghs while listening to this song. I want to sit there thinking about what it means that “this world was never meant for someone as beautiful as you.”

I know what it means that the artist was talking to the darkness in my soul. I know what it means that he was suffering for his sanity. I know. I know.

Of course I got up from my computer singing. And of course I was not singing these lyrics but instead, “Do you believe in rock ‘n roll? Can music save your immortal soul?”

Because that’s what everyone does when they hear the words “Don” and “McLean” in the same sentence.

Just in case those words aren’t already stuck in your head for the rest of day and into the night, here’s a little help.

I went back and listened to “American Pie” myself. That’s what reminded me that if you feel like your life has veered off the rails, sometimes you need to just go back to your roots. “Remember your creator in the days of your youth,” someone said to me a time or two. Sometimes if you want to be happy and good you have to remember the faith of your youth. Sometimes you have to remember what it’s like to feel love and faith and joy and laughter unencumbered by the worries of a grown-up life.

I was born in 1967 to two parents and five siblings. My childhood was full of love and joy. It was full of faith. There was preaching. There was prayer. There were Sunday School books. We sang “Amazing Grace” and “The Old Rugged Cross” and “Oh, How I Love Jesus” in our living room and in the church house too.

By 1973, I was 6, and my oldest sister was 19. There were happy times of joy and faith. Sometimes my sister played “Amazing Grace” on the piano, and sometimes my brother played ZZ Top on the radio.

Sometimes I bowed my little head in prayer, and sometimes I danced on the coffee table when my parents were away.

If you are feeling lonely, if you are feeling down, just imagine it is 1973, you are 6 years old and standing on a coffee table with a hair brush for a microphone, feeling like a star. Feeling like a starry, starry night.

It’s been a long time, been a long time.


Just in case there is anyone who lived in my house in 1973 who takes issue with the radio (or any other) portion of this story, I would just like to say that the statute of limitations for punishments has long since expired.

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