Spirits Dancing

With the 7 year anniversary of my dad’s death being tomorrow, I thought I’d share a song I wrote years ago about souls passing over, and how our bodies are really homes for the big divine. The electric guitar contribution in this tune was by Dale Kidd, a dear friend who loved this song and also passed away all too soon. We recorded it in Dale’s house and, at the time, my dad was still alive.

Both my dad’s parents are also passed over, and I’m not sure he’s spending too much time with them in the great beyond, as his relationship with them was contentious, especially with his mom. The stress of their relationship often drove him to triple brownie sundaes, though to most, she likely seemed harmless. She was around 5’3″ and had permed short hair, large round glasses, a sniffle that was like a repetitive tic, wore nylon stockings and slips- even with house slippers, and skirts held together with a safety pin.

When I was growing up, she and my grandpa would fly from Massachusetts to visit us near Chicago. When my dad drove them and my sister and I around in the family sedan, my grandmother would sit next to my dad in the front seat, worrying a kleenex in her hands to shreds, watching the road like a hawk, gravely warning, “Watch it, Tommy” anytime he inched toward another car to pass, or crept just pass the speed limit, or another car passed us, or if our exit was coming up, or if he was getting ready to merge. After 20 minutes in the car, inevitably my dad would say, “we’re just going to make a stop here” at one of any number of hot dog places in the area, and he would emerge with a milkshake to get him through the rest of the car ride.

I imagine he must have felt a bit like that kleenex in her hand, just worried to bits by her, yet he was always gracious and generous with her and his dad- buying them gifts, vacations, and hosting them for long visits. Whenever we visited them in Massachusetts, we would daytrip to both the mountains and the ocean. He may have gotten his love for the mountains from her, and I may have gotten my love for the ocean from him. Who knows how these things work and what we pass down to each other.

It feels a little weird to honor my dad by posting this song, since my dad didn’t listen much to the songs I wrote, but I imagine that when I do post this, for him it’ll be like attending some sort of otherworldly recital where he’ll pretty much have to listen. If he resists and tries to sneak away so he can go watch whatever football game is on, his mother may suddenly appear sitting next to him, and she’ll say, “Watch it, Tommy,” and hand him a milkshake to get him through.

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