Tuesday, July 18, 2006

investing wisely

Soon after Ginger and I moved to Boston, we were walking in the Cambridgeside Galleria one evening when we were stopped by a local news reporter who said he was doing a story on married couples and money. He asked us who handled the finances in our relationship and Ginger said, “I do” at the same time I said, “She does.” Then I went on to say a sentence that got us on television: “If it were up to me, I’d invest everything in CDs – and I mean the kind you listen to, not the kind they keep at the bank.”

Over the course of my life, I’ve invested heavily in music. One of the joys of iTunes is I can dump those CDs into my computer and then sell the used CDs at Newbury Comics to create a little spending money for some of the new music I want. In other words, I can still invest in CDs without it costing us too much. I will admit parting with the discs doesn’t come easy, but it’s a lesson I need to learn. Some of the literature about depression says those of us who live with it tend to be collectors. We find comfort in surrounding ourselves with stuff, not so much in the acquisitional sense as – I think – for the sense of belonging that comes with having something familiar and tangible to hold on to.

The combination of my depressive condition and the oppressive heat sent me to the store with about a dozen used CDs to swap for Something New. I came home with two new discs I’ve been hoping for: Separate Ways by Teddy Thompson and American V: A Hundred Highways by Johnny Cash. I heard the Thompson record on a listening station at Barnes & Noble the other day and was knocked out; the Cash disc is a posthumous collection of his last recordings, including a cover of Gordon Lightfoot’s “If You Could Read My Mind.” It’s a whole new song.

I was driving Ginger’s Jeep Wrangler, whose CD player has a mind of its own and shuffles the order of the songs at will. When I put in the Thompson CD, the first song that played was “I Should Get Up”:

depression looms
I’m such a miserable fool

I stay in bed

I don’t wanna go to school

but I see the sun
is beating down
no excuses from the clouds

I should get up

I should go out
I’m sure there’s something

I can’t do without

I should get up
I should get up

I should get up
No wonder I was drawn to his record. I listened to the song two or three times on the drive back to the house and then I put in Johnny Cash. The surprise I found here was Hugh Moffatt’s song “Rose of My Heart.” I sang along the rest of the way home, waiting for the chance to play if for Ginger.
we're the best partners this world's ever seen
together as close as can be

sometimes it's hard to find time in between

to tell you what you are to me.

you are the rose of my heart

you are the love of my life

a flower not fading nor falling apart

if you're tired, rest your head on my arm

rose of my heart

when sorrow holds you in her arms of clay,

it's rain drops that fall from your eyes.

your smile's like the sun
come to earth for a day,

you brighten my blackest of skies.

you are the rose of my heart

you are the love of my life

a flower not fading nor falling apart

if you're cold, let my love make you warm

rose of my heart

so hard times or easy times, what do I care

there's nothing I'd change if I could

the tears and the laughter are things that we share

your hand in mine makes all times good

you are the rose of my heart

you are the love of my life

a flower not fading nor falling apart

you're my harbor in life's restless storm

rose of my heart.
One of the CDs living in our player this week is Kate Campbell’s very excellent Monuments. The song that has hung in my head from that record is “The Way Home.” The simple claim, beautifully sung without irony, speaks deeply to me.
if you’re ever in the richmond jail
with no one around to go your bail

if you’ve lost your way it might help to know

Jesus is the way home

if you’re trying to put that whiskey down

and you realize you’re losing ground

you don’t have to walk that road alone

Jesus is the way home

you don’t have to worry where you’re at

or why you’re there he knows all that

you just let the good book be your map

Jesus is the way home

if you think nobody understands

and life’s not going like you planned

there’s a friend who’ll show you how to go

Jesus is the way home

there’s a garden down in alabam’

not too far south of birmingham

painted signs and crosses by the road

one says Jesus is the way home

for the bible tells me so

Jesus is the way home
These are the words and music getting me through these days. Maybe my investments in CDs are paying off after all.



beth said...

Paying off for me, too. Thanks, Milton, for more great musical blessings....

By the way, I'm playing out Friday night for the first time in ages. Coffeehouse gig, and I'm doing 'Show the Way', thanks to you...

don't eat alone said...

Excellent! I will look forward to hearing about it.


Anonymous said...


Thanks for talking. I got my diagnosis yesterday. It helps to hear someone else who's in the struggle.



jledmiston said...

I might just use the lyrics to Monuments in a memorial service that's coming up. Something to jolt us out of the heat-induced lull everybody's in around here.

Thanks for the great music links.

mark_heybo said...

Lovely post Milton. I will investigate each CD you mentioned.