Not the hymn.
On another little blog I resurrected (I know, what what WHAT?) I've been having a bit of fun with a meme I ran across called Advent Music. Now, to be truly hip, it's actually called #AdventMusic because in this day and age, if it doesn't have a hashtag, it's not real. Technically, I'm still not doing it right because as of day 9, I haven't posted a single one of these links on twitter, so I'm currently engaged in reckless hashtaggery (which I think might also be a good band name).
I didn't run across any official rules to these exercise because truth be told, I didn't look very hard. What I did see said something about picking one song for each day of Advent, starting with the year you were born. An astute somebody commented that it's not going to work so well if you are under the age of 24, but oh well. Guess you'll just have to leave this for the geezers.
It's been a blast checking out the annual Top 100 songs lists. Most of my choices don't include a profound story linking the song to milestones of my childhood. Most of the time it's been songs or singers that I have loved then and still love today. I pick what I like and make whatever connection I can.
Tonight I'm jumping the gun on tomorrow's selection and telling the story on this blog first because it's one I will never ever forget, and it's too good not to share.
For me, #AdventMusic Day 10 means the year is 1971, and the list is fascinating. It appears to have been an off-year for Motown, and Simon and Garfunkel had just parted ways, so the list was open for some big changes. And that's what it got. The Top 100 list for 1971 included two offerings from The Partridge Family (HA!), four from The Osmonds (whoa), two from The Jackson Five (slipped this year), and a smattering of real oddities, including Andy Williams, Olivia Newton John and Perry Como (whose dates I just checked and go figure, he lived until 2001!)
Sometimes I pour over these lists and really have a difficult time picking just one song. Not this year. In fact, I've been on the lookout for this song for awhile, hoping that it would be in a year where there wouldn't be other strong contenders. And while I'm sorry to pass over David Cassidy and The Partridge Family, the choice for 1971 is crystal clear:
1971 Joy to the World (Three Dog Night)
There is no doubt about that one. This song has everything: joy and fishes in the deep blue sea and Jeremiah the bullfrog, and for me, a story to go with the song.
The story takes place somewhere in the neighborhood of 1984 or 1985 (I think), and it's the final day of moving out of the family home. The process of downsizing from a two-story house with a full basement to a two-bedroom apartment was... how do you describe it? It was impossible yet we did it, but really, it was impossible. It was a nightmare of epic proportions to get through the final cleaning, the tossing, the storing and the moving to an apartment which, extremely inconveniently for our purposes, was on the fifth floor. But we moved and we moved and we moved and we moved. The apartment began to become a wall of stuff starting in the back corner and creeping forward like the water filling the Titanic. One bedroom stuffed. Two bedrooms stuffed. The whole concept of boxes being labelled and things being put in the corresponding room started out as a nice idea, but lost any hope of happening after the clock struck midnight. Load after load we hauled, up and down the elevator, from the apartment to house and back again over and over and over. The bedrooms were full. The bathroom was full. The kitchen was full. And now, we only had the living room, Obi-Wan Kenobi; our only hope. So we piled and piled and piled some more, and the stacks moved closer and closer to the front door. The good new was we were approaching the finish line, so we thought and hoped and prayed that we might be able to fit all this stuff inside. I wasn't sure how the people would fit, but our assignment was stuffing the stuff, not the people. At one point towards the end there were three of us standing in the doorway, staring at a wall of possessions and feeling like a puny pee-wee offensive line facing off against the pros. One of us had an armful of something -- I think pots and pans -- and after taking one look at the options, sent them airborne into the center of room where they went careening and clanging into void. And that was the end.
We all fell over howling with laughter because, what else could you do? We were hot, sweaty, and absolutely exhausted. So we laughed, and then we laughed some more. And then we got sternly shushed by our mother for MAKING NOISE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT. Which of course, only made us laugh harder, but we went into stealth silent laughing mode so as to not incur any additional wrath. Our tiptoeing became pantomime gold, and we snickered and whisper-yelled at each other to SHUT UP PEOPLE ARE SLEEPING.
We finished at 3 AM and went outside cool down for a minute, quietly, of course BECAUSE PEOPLE WERE SLEEPING. And then we heard it: loud as a truck and clear as day from somewhere nearby. It was a a very drunken college student singing at the top of his lungs, "JEREMIAH WAS A BULLFROG... WAS A GOOD FRIEND OF MINE!!!"
It was the perfect ending to a physically and emotionally draining day. Jeremiah made sure the day wasn't just about sadness. Now it had a song to go with the aches and pains. It had flying pots and pans, and it had shushing and laughter. In my family, somehow there always manages to be laughter. The day may have marked the end of an era, but at least there it had Jeremiah and joy.
If you want to read the rest of the #AdventMusic posts in chronological order,
head on over to Fickled Fancies or just follow the links in order
(if orderliness is important)