Uncle Bardie’s Spotlight Song: Mama, This One’s For You

Once a week on Friday, Uncle Bardie celebrates the creativity in others by shining a Spotlight on a movie, a song or a creator. This week’s Spotlight is for Mother’s Day. It is song, Beth Hart’s “Mama, This One’s For You“.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mothers out there. We love you and thank you for putting so much into making us who we are.

And I have to say that Beth Hart has never sounded better than she does on this one.

Auditioning

Here’s something to think about. And it’s a big something too. From the moment you’re born, you’re auditioning. Sure, your mommy’s going to love you. But think about this. By the time you come out of her, you’ve been auditioning for nine months. After a lot of interviews, wallah,you’ve got the job. You’re her kid. I didn’t say her darling. That’s a whole other thing. That role may go to your older brother or sister. They may be the cute one. You may have the role of pain-in-the-butt. Remember the Smothers Brothers. Dick got all the goodies, Tom got the chicken.

What about Dad? you ask. You know we’re in deep doo-doo if he says, “I’ve got five others just like him.” And he always says that. So you’re going to have to do some cooing and goo-goo-ga-ga-ing for him big time. Smile when he comes into the room. Always smile. Smiling works every time.  Adults like smiling. Smiling will get you into Harvard. And don’t tell me your poop don’t stink. It always stinks.

You know you’re in for bad things if mom or pop turns to big sis and says, “Go change your brother’s diaper. “ The audition with big sis ain’t going to go well. You pooped. You do not want to do that at an audition. It just ain’t cool. Later in life, she will get even. When you’ve crashed your dad’s car and you want help, she won’t be there. Because she had to clean up your poop. Get on big sis’s good side and it will serve you in good stead.

Next thing you know you’re walking and getting into everything. You know things are going well if mommy says, “Ain’t that the cutest thing.” It’s a statement, not a question. But be careful. If dad comes in and says, “Hey, he just broke my favorite coffee mug. You know the one I won at the annual bean-eating contest. The one I got for beating the crap out of Marvin,” you know where that’s going to go. And he won’t be saying “crap” either. He’ll be saying that other word that stands in for poop. So don’t break any of Dad’s stuff. He’ll appreciate it and remember what a good kid you were.

Oh, you don’t think he’ll remember. You know how you’ll know. When he hands you the keys to that really cool car for your sixteenth birthday and says, “You’ve earned it.” There’s this big smile on his face. It ain’t because your grades are good. You’re a C student at best. No, it’s because you did auditioning well. Your poop didn’t stink that bad. You didn’t break any of his precious things.

Don’t get me started about table manners. You are going to have eat that baby crap for a while. So don’t make faces. They don’t like faces, unless they’re cute faces.

Then there’s that first class in school. You’re auditioning there as well. You can either audition for the teacher or for your fellow students. Go for your fellow students. Your teacher is only going to be around for one year. Your fellow students are going to be around for, like FOREVER. So you had better impress them big time or your life is going to be a living h-e-double-hockey-sticks. Look across the room and find the kid you like the least. Immediately walk over and hit him in the face. He’s going to say, “What’d you want to do that for?” Best say nothing. You’ve impressed the other prisoners. I mean, kids.

This kid you just socked will turn out to be your best friend for life. For life, man. You can’t ask for a better friend than that. He’ll watch your back when you steal that car. He’ll be there for you when you need a sponsor in AA. You  will be his Eddie Haskel and he’ll be your Wally Cleaver. Can’t do better than that, can you? On top of all the trouble he’ll keep you out of, his mom will be June Cleaver. And, man, June Cleaver could cook. Not like your mom.

So that’s your life. You will be auditioning for role after role. For that first date. For that college you really really want to get into. For that person you will eventually marry. For that boss whose position you want. For that bank that will give you a mortgage and a credit card. For those two-point-seven kids that will make you a real American family. For those neighbors who always keep their house in tip-top shape and their lawn well manicured. (You keep wondering how he can afford the maintenance and the really cool stuff. Embezzling would be my guess.) For that divorce lawyer you will need. And you will want a good one. Your spouse is about to take everything. For that coffin you will have to fit into.

And last, but not least. There’s God. That audition is going to be real scary.

Half breed

I am a half breed and it’s only recently that I realized it. What do I mean ‘halfbreed”? I mean that I have one foot in one world and the other in another world. It was Rick Bragg’s “The Prince of Frogtown” that brought me that revelation, thank you very much.

You see, Rick Bragg hails from the same corner of Northern Alabama that I do. And many of the same kind of kin that make up one world. Blue collar folks who worked in the cotton mills and the steel mills, the garages and in the cotton fields and on the farms of that patch of earth. Hard working, good hearted, quick tempered, hard drinking, plain-speaking, deep-in-the-heart-of-the-South people who would give the shirt off their backs if you needed it.

Folks who are saved by the Blood of Jesus kind of people. People who work with their hands and not their minds. People who dig their hands in the dirt and come up empty way too often and who are without two dimes to rub together way too much. Folks who are as common as dirt and damned proud of it. People who take pride in their great granddaddy and spend much time looking backward into the past as if it was sacred. People who believe the South didn’t lose the War. Appomattox was only a truce. People who are deeply patriotic and won’t allow nobody to say a mean thing about these United States within their ear shot, but don’t believe the government is worth a damn thing. People who are described in the song “I am a Way Faring Pilgrim” and who have a natural poetry about them if you look deep.

It is from this side of the mountain that I take my love of a good story and have a y’all vernacular. It is from these folk that I first came to love the Bible and its stories and its language, much like Eudora Welty describes in her memoir “One Writer’s Beginnings”. It’s from this side of the mountain that I have seen how hard life can be for the least of God’s children. It is from these folks that I acquired my sense of justice. And the belief that if Jesus was around he’d be on the working folk side of things.

Then there’s the other foot that seems to have very little in common with the first foot. It is a world where creativity and the mind matters. Where education matters and where there’s a whole big world out there to love and to see. The future is all filled with hope. It is a world where the government is a part of the solution. It is a world where science matters. It is a world of literature and art and music, not just country and gospel, but jazz and classical and rock and roll, and it’s a world of dance and theater.

Most of my life I have made my best effort to escape the first world and move completely into the second. It’s been a long, hard struggle. But there’s no fighting it. I am beginning to understand that both worlds make up the who I am. Somehow I think that this was much of the struggle D. H. Lawrence went through. He would always have that coal dust in his bones and there was never any getting away from it.

So my job is to bring these two halves together and make them into one whole, unique human being. Can I do it? I don’t think it’s done overnight and who knows the work may never be complete. But here’s to trying.

Have you ever felt you were apart of two different worlds?

Eve

“My heart is breaking,”

Eve wrote her sister

Lilith, Adam’s first wife,

residing in the land of Cush.

Eve scribbled the words

with the ink of her tears.

“My son has murdered my son,

and the murderer is a ghost

haunting the valleys

and the rivers between

the two of us, you and me.”

Eve sat by the river

mourning her baby child,

mourning her first born man.

Eve sat by the river,

the blues in her eyes shedding

one hundred forty-six tears each day

‘tween the sunrise and the moon.

“River, my heart is bleeding,”

she sang, her grief rising

like smoke up to the ears of God

while the clock kept faith with time.

Eve went down to kneel

in the church down by the river Cry.

She lit a votive candle

and prayed the rosary

one hundred and fifty times

for the souls of her sons.

For the one whose life was taken away,

and the one who took the life

she prayed.

HAMLET: AUNTIE YORICK ANSWERS ALL

All that glistens is not gold. Merchant of Venice.

For Hamlet’s plot till now, see Hamlet So Far.
Act 1. Scene 3.
Dear Auntie Yorick:
Are we going to have another bout of the plague. I mean, another bout of the you-know-what?
Fearful.

Dear Fearful:
Stock up on cats and you should be okay.
Auntie.

Dear Aunitie Yorick:
I don’t know what to do. I just don’t know what to do. First I get it from Laertes. He’s my big brother. Avoid Hamlet like the plague. Then he takes off for Paris where he can do what the damned well he pleases. Excuse my “damned”. But damn it. Then my daddy tells me to avoid Hamlet like Henry VIII avoided Catherine of Aragon. What’s a girl to do?

Hamlet is so dreamy I just gush all over myself when he comes into the room. I mean he is a prince and all and the closest thing to Elvis this side of Graceland. If that ain’t enough, he’s the only eligible bachelor in the castle. Of course, I could go after Horatio. Only he’s such a commoner. Dirt poor too. If he wasn’t Hamlet’s buddy, he wouldn’t even get in the castle. And the clothes he wears. Ewwww.

I know. I know. Daddy and Laertes say I ain’t got a shot with my Ham. You know, he calls me his Eggs. Together we do make a nice Omelette. That’s French, by the way, for Ham and Eggs.

Hamlet will be king someday and he has to marry some prune faced princess from LaLaLand to keep the peace. Well, I am sorry. I just don’t believe it. Hamlet has told me he loves me big time. And we did do the—oops, almost spilled the beans. Anyway I think I would make an awesome Kate Middleton, don’t you think?
Ophelia.

Dear O:
On the one hand, Dahling, y’all can follow your head and do what Daddy says. On the other hand, y’all can follow your heart and elope with your prince. Looks like it’s a lose-lose situation. You are caught between the proverbial Iraq and a hard place. Only one thing to do. Follow the advice of Yogi Berra, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”

Just be careful or ya”ll will turn this into another “Romeo and Juliet”. We wouldn’t want that, now would we? Richard Burbage has already insisted he won’t play Romeo ever again.

Perhaps the best advice is to get thee to a nunnery.
Auntie.

Dear Auntie Yorick:
What am I going to do? Normally I am as loyal and obedient as any father could want his son to be. After all my name is Laertes. I tried to walk the straight and narrow. But how was I ‘sposed to act. I get to Paree and it’s spring. You know what spring is like in Paree I’m sure. There’s nothing like it anywhere else in the world. Not London. Not Moscow. Not even Rome. And definitely not Elsinore which rhymes with snore.

I was at this party, see. I met this girl. She said to me, “Why don’t you come up and see me sometime. We could parlez vous francais, if you know what I mean, Big Boy.” So I did and yadda yadda yadda. Before I knew what happened, I woke up, tied all spread-eagled across a bed. She stole all my money. I just couldn’t resist her. It was the Big Boy that did it.

So here I am in Paree without a dime to my name. I am afraid to ask Daddy for more cash. But these guys are pounding on my door, threatening to break my legs if I don’t give them the cash I lost at the races. What should I do?
Laertes.

Dear Laertes:
To thine own self be true but neither a borrower nor a lender be. Better yet. Follow the Bard’s advice from ” All’s Well That Ends Well”: “Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.” That seems to be a winner.
Auntie.

Now a word from our sponsor:
Next month Auntie Yorick is leaving the nest and going on tour. She may be coming to a town near you. So get your tickets. And expect some unexpected guests. I am not saying who but one of them has the initials W S.

Auntie Yorick:
I can’t get no respect. I mean, c’mon. I go and get His Magnanimousness elected king. I raise two kids so that they grow up to be decent human beings. Their mother had to run off with a door-to-door salesman. Left a note saying that I was such a bore. Here I was working my fingers to the bone to put meat on the table. At least, I did end up with two wonderful kids, Laertes and Ophelia.

The problem is that those kids won’t listen to me. It isn’t like it used to be. In my father’s day, you put a chastity belt on your daughter and that did the trick. No, kids today won’t listen.

My Ophelia wants to date that no-good bum of a prince. Always sitting thinking. He’s not done a day’s work in his entire existence. His mama has done nothing but mollycoddle that boy since the day he was born. All he does is sit around and feel sorry for himself. Sure wish I could set her up with that Young Fortinbras. Now that would be a match made in heaven.

On top of that, Laertes goes and gets in trouble in Paris. Paree, he calls it. Can you believe that? Wants more money. That boy is going to bankrupt me before he’s done. What should I do?
Polonius.

Polonius:
Damned if I know. All I can say is one man’s Paris is another man’s Paree.
Auntie.