When my daughter Grace was a junior in high school, she and her friend Mary Caton asked me to teach them how to play guitar. After they’d mastered the basic chords, we started working on various picking patterns. Then I taught them some songs that required more fingering agility. While I was demonstrating one of the songs, Grace got MC’s attention and pretended to take a drag on a joint.
“Grace!” I said. “This is not a druggy song. The words are from Proverbs 3:5 and 6.”
“Well, the music sounds druggy. Admit it, Mom. You know you were a hippie.”
But the truth is I wasn’t a hippie. Yes, I did come of age in the late 60s to mid 70s, but in high school I was an honor student, a cheerleader, and a member of the choir. And I was a Christian. That’s a far cry from Woodstock. Granted, I also played and sang in the occasional coffee house, but who didn’t in those days? All the leaves were brown, we’d seen fire and rain, and the answer was blowing in the wind. The coffee house movement was in full swing, and anyone with poetic or musical leanings gravitated that way.
I think Grace just enjoyed making fun of me and her dad. I’d told her about the songs he’d written and how in college he would leave snippets of poetry in my post office box. Back then she’d roll her eyes and say, “If a boy ever wrote poetry to me, I’d gag.”
I suppose she pictured some Poindexter in a bow tie spouting, “Roses are red, Violets are blue, I never met a theorem as complex as you.” One thing I know for sure, she did not picture her beloved and beautiful Curtis, who won her heart in a multitude of ways, not the least of which included the musical outpourings of his poetic soul. The songs he wrote about her contain lines that run from the whimsical, “I’ve got a girl that makes me feel like giving flowers to everyone I meet,” to the heart-melting, “Your eyes know my name.” And now she’s happily married to her poet-prince and they live in a cozy little castle they call Gypsy Cottage, where they will soon welcome their daughter, Harper Sparrow. (And I’m the hippie.)
When Curtis first came into our lives, he wanted to learn everything about us. (I’m pretty sure the dictionary entries for intentionality, passion, and carpe diem are fighting over which one gets to use his photo as exhibit A.) So, we answered his questions and told stories and ended up digging out old boxes filled with cassette tape recordings. One of these was filled with some of George’s original songs.
When I met George, I was a sophomore in college and lived in a duplex with three friends. He’d just broken off a serious relationship and was heart sore. Our home became a place where he could hang out, play guitar, and just be. Over the course of that first semester of friendship, he wrote songs about each of my roommates and me: Rainbow, Meadow, Stream, and Dove. But he didn’t tell us which was which. Sometimes he’d leave us notes with little hints, but they were always too cryptic to be sure. Then, at the end of the semester, he came over one evening and sang all the songs again, but this time he inserted our real names somewhere in the appropriate song. He also sang a new song he’d written about himself called Farmer Harmony. (That’s the actual meaning of his first and middle name.) The song exalted the friendship God had built between us all, but only because our friendship exalted Christ.
Curtis of the passionate intentionality was enraptured with all of this. He took the tapes and remastered them onto CDs. And recently he went a step further and created a MySpace for George.
Would you like to hear Rainbow, Meadow, Stream, Dove, and Farmer Harmony, plus a couple of other George originals? Well, now you can, by clicking here.
By the way, I’m Stream. And if that makes me a hippie, I’m fine with that.