Don’t Miss the Dance or Flip to the End

Yesterday, in the midst of the madness around here, I looked over at the couch and saw Cooter, head on the seat, feet up the back of it, reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.  He has seen the first Harry Potter movie.  His older sister has read all of the books.  His middle sister has just finished the sixth book. Both of them refuse to give away any of the details in the storyline, no matter how hard he begs or how persistent his questioning is.  Me, I’ve forgotten so much, he doesn’t bother asking anymore.

When I asked him what he was doing, he said, “I’m reading the second book.  Baba (big sister) said since I’d seen the first movie, I could start with the second book.”  He turned back to his book.  Upside down and everything.

I struggled with the need to tell him to put the book down and come work on handwriting or math, but this is my child who, up until five months ago, was NOT reading.  Ahem.  I let him be.

For a while.

Today I saw him reading again.  And then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw him flipping pages.  Toward the end.

“What are you doing, buddy?” I asked him.

He looked up, grinned that sheepish one tooth grin, and said, “Well, I was just thinking I might see what happens later.  You know…..”

*sigh*  Yes, I do.

But I am very much against it.  Fight the urge, little man.

“Hey, don’t do that, okay?  If you do, you are going to spoil what happens at the end.  More importantly, you’ll spoil all that happens before that–you will miss the story, bud.  The journey.  And that’s what makes it.  The story of getting there.”

He nodded.  Did he get my meaning?  Will he quit trying to jump ahead to find out what happens, or will he enjoy the ride as he reads page by page?

I have no idea.  As my Daddy often said, “I can want it for him, but I can’t make him do it.”

Years and years ago, at the very beginning of another lifetime, I had gotten a new cassette tape by a new artist–Garth Brooks.  I loved most all of the songs on it, but my favorite at one time was “The Dance.”  I guess that’s why Cooter wanting to flip to the end of the book to see what happens hit me so hard.  The lyrics of that song, written by Tony Arata, are etched on my heart.  So many endings that if I’d known about them…..well, I would have missed out.  Because I don’t know if I would have thought I could handle the pain.

And now, I’m glad I didn’t know
The way it all would end, the way it all would go
Our lives are better left to chance, I could have missed the pain
But I’d of had to miss the dance 

So my dear ones, I know there’s always going to be the curiosity and the desire to know how it turns out.  What happens to Harry?  To Hermione?  Is Dumbledore hiding something?  Who is Tom Riddle?  There are those questions in real life too.  How will this homeschooling thing turn out?  Am I doing the right thing?  Will she graduate and go straight through her post-graduate work?  Will truth and good triumph over evil in this battle for what’s right that we are in the midst of?  How old do I have to be before Mama will let me get a cell phone?  Or go places without texting her I’m there safely? (FYI, never)

All of those questions, the uncertainty, the wondering–it’s all part of the amazing journey and adventure we call life.  It’s not always comfortable, but it will always be a part of our life.  So best to make peace with it and enjoy the dance.

Because life’s too precious not to.

Love to all.

If you’d like to hear the song, here’s a version by Westlife–a recent favorite group of mine.  Because well, you know, there’s nothing of Garth on Youtube or iTunes.  Heard a rumor that could be changing.  Fingers crossed.  Until then, these boys do it justice. 

 

 

Old School Paper Writing and Feeling Old

Today’s “story from a ways back” is brought to you by 80’s radio.  The best place to find all your high school and college memories.

Yesterday as I was shuttling my little people hither and yon, the song “Like a Prayer” by Madonna came on the radio.  It immediately took me back to college.   And then to an afternoon a few months ago.

The song came on the radio that day, and I looked over at Aub, who was riding shotgun.

“That song goes back to my junior year, I think.”

She nodded and kept looking at her phone. “I wrote a paper about that song,” I told her, glancing over to gauge her response.

“Really?” she asked.

“Yeah, it was for a Religion class with Dr. Ledbetter.”

“Huh,” she replied, finally looking up.  “About the song?”

“Well, about the song and the video combined, I guess,” I told her.  “It took me over a week to write it.”

That got her attention.

“What?  Why?”

“I had to go over to the Rec Room every day around six to catch the video on the top video countdown on MTV on the big screen TV in there.  I had to hurry over to eat supper and then get down there before it started, because you never knew if that video was going to be at the beginning or closer to the end.  I’d sit and watch and take notes.  I went back several nights in a row before I had what I needed to write it.”

Ahem.  I might as well have been speaking Greek.

“You had to do what?  Wait now, you…..well, I mean, whaaa–I’m confused.”

Well of course you are, baby girl.

Kids these days.

If I were to write the same paper today–it was about the spirituality in the song and video, as best as I can remember–I could pop it out in just a couple of hours or so.  Suffice to say, it wouldn’t have been one of those all-nighters that I needed to keep doughnuts around to reward myself for every hour or so that I stayed awake writing.  (Hypothetically speaking, of course.) First of all, this was back when MTV actually showed Music Videos.  (Not that I’m aware of what they show now, but I’ve heard things.)  It was back before there was free cable in the dorms, where I could have watched it in the comfort of my room.  Back before the invention of the DVR, so I could have recorded it to watch at any time and not had to rush through my suppers all week long.  Wait, with DVR, I could have replayed the parts I needed clarity on over.  And over.  And over.  Until I had everything I needed.

But wait, there’s more.

This was before the advent of YouTube.

Whoa.

I know.

This was before we could pull up every possible music video with the exception of those by the artist Mr. Garth Brooks by going to a website on the world wide web and typing a few key words. Yes, there once was such a time, my friends. I had a computer while I was in college, thanks to my Daddy’s guidance and a gift from my Granny.  It served me very well.  But internet? Puh-lease.  I was lucky it wasn’t one of those wall-to-wall units.  It had a dot-matrix printer with the paper that fed through with tear-off holes on the sides, for goodness’ sake. As I listened to the song yesterday and caught my littles’ glancing with more than a little curiosity at their Mama belting out a song that wasn’t from the “Frozen” soundtrack or sung by anyone previously or currently known as a Disney Channel star, I thought about that paper, and what it would be like to write it now. I could totally do it in one sitting.  On a laptop.

Pull up video on YouTube.  Check.

Watch a couple of times, making notes.  Leave the tab up for quick reference.

Look up on Bible Gateway or another scripture website the key words from the notes I took to find Bible passages that will help me connect the meaning behind the song and video with Scripture.   (I think I used a Bible with a concordance the first time around.  It was neither quick nor efficient.)

Take notes from the Bible passages.

Click open the YouTube tab.  Watch the video one more time.

*Pause to check Facebook notification and comment on the cute pictures my roommate just posted.  Text my friend back who asked if I was about to head over for supper in the dining hall.*

Sort my thoughts, make some semblance of an outline.

Open up Word or a document file.  While I wait, message my classmate that I’m almost done with this paper.  Score!

Begin typing.  (MOST useful class I took in high school.  Hands down.  Thank you, Mrs. Pearson.)

Have the computer proofread for me.  (My old computer could sort of do that–it thought “toady” was an acceptable word so that didn’t go so well a time or two.)

Save it periodically as I type, as I probably would have learned my lesson before then.   I hope.

Save the final copy.

Open up my email account.

Compose an e-mail to Dr. Ledbetter.  Attach my paper to send.  Press SEND.

Done.

Seriously?

I don’t think my girl and her crew get how easy things are today.  Almost all knowledge and entertainment (with the exception of Mr. Garth Brooks’ videos–this troubles me greatly, y’all) are literally at their fingertips.  Just a few minutes ago, I opened up a tab and looked up “advent” to make sure I was using it correctly. By moving nothing more than my fingers.

Sigh.

I know I sound old, but when I think about how different such a simple thing as writing a research paper is today it blows me away.  My next child in line to go to college will be there in nine years.  What?  I wonder how much more advanced things will be.

Maybe the computer will write their papers for them.

Y’all. I’m old.

And on that note, I’m going to bed.