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.

12 March 2006

"Scarlet Ribbons (For Her Hair)"

I think I liked this song at one point. And today when I sang it, it actually made me cry, like during the Hallmark commercials. But it's quite a creepy little song: where *did* those ribbons come from? Did God bring the ribbons? Seems a bit mundane for the Lord Most High. Was it aliens? Why, with people starving in the world, did one little girl's wish for hair ribbons come true, in such abundance? It's disturbing.

I've been reading Lynn Truss's 'Talk To The Hand', and just finished it today. Last year I very much liked her 'Eats, Shoots, and Leaves', and I was skeptical that she could come back so soon with another great little book. But this book was great, addressing the issues of manners and morality in the world today, and making me laugh to boot. Today I was thinking about the section in which she speaks of 'car courtesy': the times when we merge in turn, wave others cars and pedestrians across, do little acts of kindness to people we do not know and may never even meet, all in the name of the common driving good. I like to think of this in my life as greasing the wheels of civilization, and I see it extending, somewhat seamlessly for me, into the small and critical courtesies that are face to face, with shop keepers and strangers on the street. Good manners can create openings in our daily lives for a bit of light and good feeling, and they can also help define the boundaries of our selves more clearly. This is my space, that is yours, there you go right by me, we're good, here I come alongside, I'll be leaving now, thanks so much.

I think my attention to small courtesies comes from two sources. The first is my life as parent, where working to instill good manners in my daughter is one of the most important things I do on a daily basis. The second is my awareness that I will not likely leave to the world any grand works of art, or epic novels, but I can create a warm bubble of goodwill around my own self. It's perhaps even better than leaving an epic to the world, because I can see the results of the goodwill bubble every day. I believe that these little bits of good propel the goodness at large along, like a snowball down the hill.

Doing little bits of good also helps me to not be creating little bad bits. It keeps me busy, off the streets. No time for being a bad girl. Not that it wouldn't be a nice break, now and again, but my regrets there are few, as well.


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