Unitarian Hymnal Sing-along

In which Kathryn attempts to sing a different song everyday from the Unitarian Universalist hymnal, 'Singing the Living Tradition'. Earlier posts are based on songs from the Reader's Digest songbooks she found at yard sales as a child, including: 'Reader's Digest Treasury of Best Loved Songs', 'Reader's Digest Family Songbook', and 'Reader's Digest Family Songbook of Faith and Joy'. Bonus Folk song material from: 'Folk Song USA', by John and Alan Lomax.

17 November 2005

"Days of Wine and Roses"

I can't help but think: I never did see the end of this movie. I saw the beginning about twenty years ago, I really should finish it at some point, but I've heard that it doesn't end well. It's a pretty song, and in a very different style, which makes sense since we've skipped ahead about thirty years for this song. Well, only twenty since yesterday's song, but still!

I saw the first half of this movie at the drug and alcohol rehabilitation center where I worked summers as a lifeguard for several years right after high school. It changed my life in ways that had nothing to do with the swimming pool, though I did learn to do my own pool chlorination for the first time, and two ways to cut a deck of cards with one hand. I did a lot of yoga on my breaks between pool openings, in meeting rooms that weren't being used at that time, breathing into stretches and learning the limits of my body,

I also met lots of alcoholics and drug addicts. I found out that old drug addicts have better stories. I went to AA and NA meetings for the sense of community that I couldn't find anywhere else. I was young and innocent and ripe for the kind of lessons that these people were learning because they had realized they were addicts: that one chooses to improve a life, to change one's life, in order to become better, and stronger. And taking things 'one day at a time' is a great precursor to taking things one moment a time, being fully in each of those moments. I read great books from the store there that talked about self-improvement, and self-reflection. Today the 'self-help' movement has a bit of a light weight status among some serious readers, but I didn't know any better then. What I read felt important, and worth considering, pondering. It gave me a different way to frame my college experience and the lessons I learned there. I think the residents of the place found me rather refreshing, and I found them fascinating. They were all so different from one another, some were like me in ordinary ways. I saw them at their best, totally sober, more or less sincere, and working their programs.

I think that's why I never saw the end of the movie, having seen the beginning there. I didn't keep in touch with anyone from the rehab, and I prefer to believe in their happy endings, even if I know that it's likely that some people, at least, ended up making very different choices. I really hope that some also made it out alive, and are still choosing their lives bravely and boldly. I am grateful for having learned my own lessons there, and at a very good time to take them in.


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