Thursday, June 30, 2011

Little Vignettes

It Is Well With My Soul - Amy Grant (mp3)
Stay for a While - Amy Grant (mp3)

The condensation on my can of root beer, outside in the muggy weather. A drop rolls down, growing in size and gaining speed until it pools at the bottom.

Across the table at a poorly-lit bar, the look from a friend, whose eyes say everything because they say, without the need for words, "I understand you... and yet I remain your loyal friend."

Girls playing Two-Square, and one girl keeps screaming for do-overs and rules changes, but the other two patiently tolerate her. For love of the game, or kindness? Does it matter?

A woman's voice, projected through a computer from New Hampshire, shows me something amazing and new, and I'm continually reminded that technology advances with two or three positive atoms for every negative one.

Two women in their 70s stand outside a church entrance, embracing one another over news of a friend who died earlier that day. It looks like they are holding one another's frail bodies up, but then they separate, and you realize they're stronger than the hulkiest teenagers.

An older acquaintance, in a moment of inebriated freedom, admits he's held a grudge against one of his teachers for more than 40 years. And you realize you can't really predict when or how most grudges come about; you only know that once they set in, they're harder to remove than blood stains on cotton.

A crow chases a squirrel down a tree and across several dozen yards, and you wonder if the squirrel knows the crow is just screwing with it.

The face of my daughter on a computer screen as she sits 180 miles away in North Carolina, a beautiful face with a thousand different expressions. And although my phone calls with her rarely last more than a few minutes, I look up and realize we've Skyped for 12 minutes and counting, and I don't really want to say goodbye because my eyes are still eagerly and hungrily soaking her in.

At a stop light, a young couple pull up in a dirty, dented beat-up clunker with plastic covering one of the backseat windows. He looks left at the preppily-dressed guy on a scooter, shakes his head, smiles, and shouts out the window, "Four wheels move the body, but two wheels move the soul."

Three men, all around 40, stand beside a hospital bed wherein lies an 85-year-old man. They have watched maybe 100 UNC basketball games together in the past decade. The elderly man is rehabilitating after a stroke. He chokes up as he attempts to express his appreciation.

Amy Grant shows up on your iPod as you shuffle your collection, and a blast of pictures and flash-memories from 25 years ago flitter through your mind like old Super-8 film. The cheesy glee of it all is almost enough to buckle the knees.


BeckEye said...

I can't get past the Amy Grant, man. :)

Bob said...

I despise Amy grant. She is the poster child for the hypocrisy of contemporary Christian music.

Billy said...

@Beck - LOL! Her music reminds me of that song "Waiting for a Star to Fall." Remember that one? You literally find yourself drowning in synth.

@Bob - Interesting. Does this mean anyone who sins can't be a Christian or make "Christian" music? Or is there more to your venom than the fact that she sings songs about Jesus and also got divorced and remarried?

BeckEye said...

Yeah, who sang that crappy song...Boy Meets Girl or Boy Loves Girl or Boy and Girl Make Me Want to Jam a Pen in My Ear?

Bob said...

No, it means that Christianity was merely a marketing term for her to use when convenient on her career path.

Billy said...

@Bob - First, damn you for making me defend Amy friggin' Grant. Second, it sounds like you just want to dislike her and are creating circumstances with which to justify your dislike. Do you actually know anything about her career path to suggest that she's the Jimmy Swaggart or Ted Haggard of Christian music?

Your comments sound as out of left field as someone who would claim the E Street Band had a token black saxophonist.

Anonymous said...

Billy, I'm going with Bob on this one. I had to endure countless turns of the first Amy Grant vinyl in my early teens. My mom and dad were huge fans since she was the first "Christian singer" of her kind, really, despite Debbie Boone's attempt to be that brand. "I Wanna Live on a Mountaintop" is, unfortunately, a melody that is ingrained from years of auditory abuse. I think she/is just so packaged--there was another early CCM artist, Keith Green, who was edgier but angry--apocalyptic, like an evangelical Ben Folds, and he at least, to my teen ears, seemed less of a brand. Amy is to CCM as Shania is to country--a lovely package, but a package nonetheless.

Plus the cliche lyrics of nearly all CCM offend; THE WISHBONES by Tom Perotta nailed that gig!

troutking said...

Guess we'll find out if Amy Grant has as many trolling defenders as the Avett brothers...

Anonymous said...

@Troutking: that occurred to me, too. Methinks not.

@Billy: There were other gems in this post that were quite lovely and moving--like the Skyping one, esp. Nice vignettes.