Good evening, Tribers. Music stirs up my emotions, and I was listening to "Waltzing Matilda" by Tom Waits (it's on my page, and makes Chrishenda laugh!). I relate to melancholy, sad songs and Tom Waits writes a lot of those. This is one of his saddest, and particularly so for me, because the original "Waltzing Matilda" (the national anthem – I think – of Australia) was one of my mother's favourites. My mother passed away from cancer many years ago, but it was the blow that sent my depression into overtime. Tom Waits's version of this song, especially the words "and a wound that will never heal", got me thinking of another of my favourite songwriters, Nanci Griffith, and her beautifully wistful song "Love at the Five and Dime". The song is about a girl named Rita, my mother's name, who, as a young girl, worked at Woolworth's (are there any Woolworth's anymore?) Anyway, as a young girl, my mother worked after school in a five and dime like Woolworth's. The song is a story about how Rita "just sixteen" would dance in the "aisles of the five and dime" with Eddy, her boyfriend. When I hear this song, I think of a picture I used to have of my mother when she was about sixteen. In my mind right now, I am hearing the music and seeing her standing behind the store counter, her young shining face, with no cancer and no pain, her future just ahead of her, just there.
I feel her wanting to comfort me; her frustration at not being able to reach me twists in my body and flows out of my eyes.
She's wiping the countertop, thinking of school, flirting with her boyfriend, planning a party, looking up at the customer who's just walked in the door, just there.