Wednesday, August 30, 2023

If You Go Down


The last Saturday in August, I participated in the International Play Music on the Porch Day. This was the first year that I was able to sing on our sun porch. I was hoping it would be complete by the time the big day rolled around, but the tile hadn’t been laid and the shiplap wasn’t stained and finished.

This is the third time I’ve participated in the big day, but for once, I knew exactly what I wanted to sing. Recently, I discovered Kelsea Ballerini’s “If You Go Down (I’m Going Down Too)” song and knew it was the one song I was going to sing on the sun porch. 

I dragged all my music equipment out to the porch. I carried my ukulele and the dog trotted along with me. It was a beautiful, cool morning and just as I got set up, the guy that mows our lawn showed up. As I started recording, the mower buzzed past the window. Take 1,2, and 3 erased. After several attempts, I made it through the song without mower interruption.

The song is a humorous take about friendship that knows no bounds. A person is lucky indeed, if you have a friend who will, without question, have your back! I don’t know if I’d go to the extremes that the song implies, but I do have a few special friends and family members that I’d bail out of jail.

I remember one time my sister called me and said she was in jail and wanted to know if I’d go her bail. I was quickly calculating in my head how much money I had in the bank.

“What did you do?” I asked.

She said, “Embezzlement” and then laughed. She was “in jail” for charity and had to raise a certain dollar amount to do her part. With great relief, I donated.

Although we may (or may not) have friends that we would stick to through all pitfalls and disasters, we more often will have to know when a person has gone too far. At times all we can offer is tough love. We may have to say, “I can’t do that” when we get that call in the middle of the night, and someone wants you to bail them out of jail. Several years ago when I was living alone, I received one of those calls and although I was half asleep, I knew it wasn’t something I could do.

 I’ve seen heartbroken parents who refuse to enable their kids when they get lost in the illegal drug world. I had a conversation with a woman whose son relapsed and was circling the drain. She refused to help him saying, “He has to hit rock bottom before he will stop using.”

There are reasons to refuse to let someone drag you down with them. Imagine that someone is drowning and in their panic, they pull you under, and you both drown. In that case, if you have a long pole you can let her hang on and drag her to safety. Or you might throw him a floatation device and let the person save himself. It does no one any good if you both drown.

I know that as a caregiver, I had to work at not sinking into despair. I had to hold on tight to my own identity to continue life outside of caregiving. Friends and family who walked beside me and pulled me forward were the saving grace that kept me afloat.

Lately, playing music with the family band has been my lifeline. Relaxing with my ukulele helps me make it through some exasperating days.

I wasn’t 100% satisfied with how I sang the song, but knowing me, I could have gone through it twenty times and still would have found something wrong with it. I took the SD card out of my camera and inserted it into my PC. I used Movie Maker to finish the video and format it for Facebook.

In past years, my video was lost among the thousands of videos posted throughout the world. This year, was a little different. I started getting comments about the song. One lady said that it would be a good song for her trio. One of the Play Music on the Porch administrators said this was her new favorite song, and asked if I’d post it to the Facebook account so that she could share it. Songs posted to the community can only be viewed by other members and cannot be shared. Later in the day, the administrator said she had been singing the song all day!

I know the enthusiasm wasn’t for my singing, but for the song. It will probably take another year for me to find a song for 2024 Play Music on the Porch Day. In the meantime, the message for my best friends—if you go down, I’m going down too.


Copyright © Aug 2023 by L.S. Fisher


Monday, August 28, 2023

The Lazy, Hazy, Days of Summer


When I took the dog out last week, we found thick fog and scorching hot weather. Later in the day the haze was gone, but the heat and humidity made outside time almost unbearable for me, and I’m not covered in thick fur like my dog. The heat made me feel lethargic—or one might say—lazy.

I could feel myself wilting when I had to take the dog out. At least when we finished outside, we came inside to a cool house with a dehumidifier. It still took time for me to recuperate after a stroll around the yard with a recalcitrant dog. The dog led and I followed.

On those foggy mornings, the heat made my glasses fog over. I sat on a chair in the shade, and the dog promptly jumped into the chair next to me. As we sat there panting in the heat, I suddenly felt a cold wind hit me for a few seconds. I thought maybe I’d left the door open, but it was closed. About the time I decided I’d imagined the cold wind, I felt it again.

It didn’t matter whether it was 6 a.m. or midnight, the air was heavy and oppressive. I thought about the hot nights when I was a kid and we had only a box fan to stir the air. Summers may not have been  hotter, but when you had no respite from the heat, it seemed that way.

When Jim and I first married, we rented a one-room apartment in Kansas without air-conditioning. We had one window, a screen door, and a fan for circulation. It got so hot at night that we wet a beach towel and put it over us.

Several years later, we lived in a two-story farmhouse, and the downstairs was comfortable even in the hottest part of summer. When we bought our land and moved a mobile home on it, we made it until June without an air-conditioner. It took us that long to decide that our mobile home was a heat trap in the summer.

Our favorite way to beat the heat was to go to the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. August was our favorite time to go because that’s when the weather was miserable in “Misery” as we often called Missouri. It was always great to put on a jacket and sit by the campfire.

I recall how vigilant I had to be with Jim during the summer. When he was inside the house, he sometimes wore his denim jacket to stay warm. In his confusion, he would try to warm the house up, but instead he would push the thermostat lower. I finally had to put duct tape over the control to keep him from pushing it as low as it would go.

One day I told Jim we would go to town to eat. After I was ready to go, I grabbed my purse, but couldn’t find Jim. I finally decided he’d already gone to the car. That’s where I found him, with all the windows shut tight, wearing his denim jacket, and sweating profusely. I couldn’t imagine what would have happened if I’d taken longer to get ready.

When the thermometer hits triple digits, it’s hard to stay comfortable without a fully functioning cooling system. I feel for those who suffer though the hazy, lazy days of summer without a way to cool down.

I hope we have an autumn this year and don’t go from the summer heat to the bone-chilling cold when all the winds are cold. As I bundle up to take the dog out, the summer heat will be only a fond memory. As for the dog—she prefers the snowy, windy, icy days of winter.


Copyright © Aug 2023 by L.S. Fisher