Sunday, August 11, 2013


    Many of us have particular songs that transport us back
to that moment in time that we first heard it.  Hearing or
thinking of this song tends to conjure up all the memories
of where you were, as well as what you were going through
at that time.  The power of music and literature is that it
gives you another perspective to look at.  It challenges you
take another look and consider other possibilities. Other
viewpoints that may not have occured to you.
    I heard the first song when I was 17 years old.   I had
joined the military service right after my junior year
in high school, right after I turned 17. There was a lot
of fighting going on in Vietnam.  Joining the service,
for me, was an act of survival.  My world, at that point in
time, gave me few options.  You have the option of getting
some sort of control of your life, or you can stay where you 
are and continue to be treated with ambivilance.  An 
unhealthy environment for any child.  Of course you 
cannot articulate this, but there is a little voice inside 
of you that tells you that you must make some sort of 
move.  I sure there are many guys that joined the 
service for a lot of the same basic reasons., and not 
for some sense of divine patriotism.  It was a very 
different era.  
   Anyway, after finishing basic training I was sent to
Massachusetts for further training. There I was,
with another group of strangers, and in a strange new
environment.   Basic training had taught you
survival skills and, among other things, it instilled 
in you the notion that you and your fellow soldiers 
watched out for each other.  This, of course, was 
in direct contradiction to the first 17 years of my life.
As a child you refrain from discussing any of this.
With anyone.  It just wasn't done back in those days.
  After about the third week in Mass. we were given 
weekend passes, so three of my fellow soldiers and I
headed for Boston.  They were all older than I was
and we somehow wound up  back at some basement
apartment with, what I assumed to be, college 
students/girls.  The radio was playing and 
that was when I first heard the song.  It was
"Positively 4th Street" by Bob Dylan.   When he sang
of the hypocricy of what people say versus what
they really mean, I knew exactly what he was referring
to.  He had just spoken to the enviroment of the first
17 years of my life.  Hearing those words convinced me that
I had made the right move to distance myself  from that
world.  A big weight was lifted, and it was at that
point that I realized that I would be OK.  I could move on
and not look back.  I can't recall any of the faces or 
the other events of that weekend, but I have carried
the lyrics of that song for forty some years.  It also
gives you a guidepost as to what you do not wish to
become as you move through your life. Touting 
your love of humanity while you treat people with
such disregard and scorn is not a trait that anyone 
should be proud of. 
   I recall that a lot of people did not care for Bob
Dylan.  But, it's the message, not the messenger.
  The next song:  "Walk A Mile In My Shoes",  came
about four or five years later., just after I had 
gotten out of the service.
   I shall get to that in my next post. Plus I might need
an edit, or two.
Oh, Twinkle wanted me to post the "Always the
Bridsemaid" canvas on the right side of the screen.  The
dog is, according to her, the wrong color. But she liked 
the design.  Ta!

No comments:

Post a Comment