Homage to the blues

Type in any search box “the blues” and you’ll be rewarded with example after example of example of one of mankind and womankind’s greatest cultural legacies.

I tapped into that today after basking in the blues of just-departed Greg Allman. He ain’t never coming back, went the way of all human beings, but thank God, his full-throated visceral roars have been preserved… and the plaintive B3, the slow, then full-throttle rhythms, the thrilling twin-guitar leads.

Allman’s death, his and the band’s story, reading about the deaths of minority youths and elders in acts of violence, the solemnity of Memorial Day sermons and observances are all coming together in a patchwork of the blues.

So many people in the service of our country and other countries have died, bloodied on battlefields, soon or long after after being wounded. Young and old, caught in the crossfire of misunderstandings of human beings with the same DNA code, have died at gunpoint or in circumstances they did not deserve. Artists have died, some more famous than others, all after following their ideas, their muses and creating.

We’ve got much for legacies from all these folks, but chief among them are the blues.

Allman Brothers: Dreams

Thoughts on my mother’s passing

I was raised by a warrior. Chances are you were, too.

And, sometimes it takes a funeral to help bring that home. A remembrance reminds a person of the circumstances of a life.

Mom’s funeral on Monday helped sharpen that for me.

It was important to her to make sure her kids learned that structure was important. She was good at that.

She did her darnedest to bring order to our lives. Three meals a day. Always a garden. She knitted and crocheted. She sewed. Her house was very, very clean. She read. She read to her children. She wrote letters. She kept track of who was who in the families. Anyone who visited was invited to sign a guest book. If she knew you, you’d likely get a birthday card, with a letter.

I’ve missed a few things I should add to that list, I’ll bet.

She was a preacher’s wife, too. That’s a tough role to fill, right there. She tackled that with the same vigor of her other endeavors. She played piano. She played organ. She taught Sunday school. She led Bible studies.

She was the wife of a Reformed Church missionary, as well, called to be of service among several tribes of American Indians. This woman, raised with German, Protestant, Calvinistic values, was determined to pass that along, wherever her and her husband’s calling took them.

All that came from a deep well of belief — Christ is redemption Christ brings meaning. There were terrible times, but those, too, had their places in the scheme of things.

Sometimes all that order made it tough to live with her, but that went with the territory.

The last 12 years or so of her life, she battled infections after illness resulted in total parenteral nutrition. A woman who loved to cook for herself and others could only taste food while liquid nutrition was delivered through a vein.

But, she battled those recurring infections, recovering time after time, maintaining a faith that puts mine to shame.

Chances are you have a warrior in your family. And, it’s a good idea to think of a parent in that fashion. They may not be dressed in a cape or armor or camouflage, but I’ll bet they’ve fought their share of battles to get you to where you are.