I was driving back from taking Jack for a walk today (yes I am aware of the contradiction) when that furry fellow spied a left-over piece of his favourite chew on the dashboard. He jumped up to claim it and inadvertently turned on the radio, scaring the hell out of us both. I don’t listen to the radio much any more – there is no ‘oldies’ radio station in SA, and, outside of the odd Bruno Mars sing-along, I can’t be bothered with the music that ‘popular stations’ play these days. I am a word girl and the me, free, he, we, see or yo, ho, bitch, stitch, itch, lazy-ass rhyming that passes for lyrics these days, just irritates the merry hell out of me.
So, once I had retrieved the smelly bit of ostrich sinew, I reached to turn off the radio. And then stopped. Because it was Bobby McFerrin.
Even more particularly: it was Bobby McFerrin singing – “Don’t worry, be happy”. I love that song with all of my heart. It makes me smile whenever I hear it. It involves and includes me. My shoulders and head bop to the beat (well, sort of), I pull my cool face and I tap along on my breastbone like he does in the video. (The memory of which brings its own nostalgia – Bobby, Robin Williams and Christopher Reeves horse around together, being sweetly nuts.)
I sing it to the Nans sometimes, when they have wrinkles in their brows and need a little cheering up. Everyone joins in. We all “doo do do do do do do doo to doo, doo doo doo doo doo to doo” and whistle along with Bobby. And then we all laugh and love the moment and each other. The song is like a shared meditation. The beat and the happiness are contagious. And the worry passes.
It was sofamother’s birthday this week. And she is a worrier of note: trying to ward off the evils that could assail the people she loves by teasing apart every fibre of the “what if”s and “worst case” scenarios. Making side deals with God. How successful she is – we will never know; but we are doing ok. So she must be doing something right.
Glenis turned 77 – and that’s a lot of worrying years. She is in London with sofabrother the younger, Jax my sister-in-law, my gorgeous niece Loulou and Rory – their new dog. They all sounded like they were having a wonderful time, but I know that mom would have been thinking about the year to come – and wondering … “what lies ahead”.
I found this poem today – and thought the timing was perfect. So Glennie – this is for you. Happy Birthday.