“Scary lawn decorations … terrifying television programs … and people are going door-to-door,” said my friend Mark Nolen from Tuscaloosa. “No. I’m not talking about Halloween. I’m talking about election season.”
In my lifetime, I’ve never felt such a worried mood about politics and the state of America. It’s almost as if so many people can’t enjoy their morning cup of coffee because they can’t get their minds off of the election.
Not me. The election is two weeks away. I’ll worry about that next week. As for this week, my focus is on how I can sneak past my children and confiscate a Snickers or Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. It’s good for the spirit.
I’m convinced that what’s wrong with the world today isn’t the election, the state of the economy or Honey Boo Boo. It’s one word — S-T-R-E-S-S. There’s too much of it.
When I was younger, my brothers and I caused my mother an enormous amount of stress. She used to talk about how one time when she unloaded us at a baseball game we all three were screaming.
“Bob had forgotten his ball cap,” she said. “Bill couldn’t find his ball glove and you were just crying for no reason.”
So, she did what she always did whenever her stress level increased. She sang.
“One day at a time, Sweet Jesus,” she would sing at the top of her lungs. “Give me the strength to do everything that I have to do . ”
Maybe music is the answer to all of this stress. Perhaps we’re not singing enough. So, what if you can’t carry a tune or sing even close to the right key? Don’t get stressed. Sing anyway.
Lately, I’ve been trying to match the songs I sing to whatever is happening at the moment. For example, let’s say someone has road rage. I’ve found Jerry Reed’s song “When you’re hot your hot, when you’re not you’re not” works really well in this situation.
Furthermore, what if someone says something mean or ugly to you? John Anderson’s song “Well, I’m just an ole chunk of coal … but I’m gonna be a diamond someday” lowers my stress level.
Whether you’re on your front porch “just a swingin’” or “rollin’ on a river,” it’s music that draws us into the present moment to recognize we’re going through this journey together.
As my mother’s Alzheimer’s Disease continues to steal her mind and memories, it’s music that continues to stay with her. Recently when I noticed her anxiety rising, I stopped her in mid-sentence.
“Why don’t we just sing a cheer for the Bowdon Red Devils?” I suggested, because she was a cheerleader as a teenager in the Friendly City.
Within seconds the anxiety was gone as we sang “Old Red Devils never die, never die, never die. Old Red Devils never die. They just fade away.”
And for a minute, our stress took a break. It’s moments like these that create precious memories … “oh, how they linger.”
Garrett is a Carrollton resident and businessman. You can read more of his columns at joegarrett1.wordpress.com or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.