#1024 – Dick Bernard: "A Boy Named Sue", a song for Mother's Day?
Today we did what has come to be an annual trip, possibly four miles to the Ramsey County Correctional Facility (RCCF) to purchase Mother’s Day Flowers. (More here.)
The seasonal business is staffed by inmates at this place once called the Workhouse; 25% of the proceeds count as a donation. It is a pleasant task, buying flowers at a jail while helping some folks recover from the mistake(s) that got them confined there.
(click to enlarge)
I’ve written about this program before. Every inmate there has a mother, and father, and ancestors…and some problem that got them time….
This year I was reminded of a session on “heritage” that I conducted on Monday evening, coincidentally my 75th birthday, in Minneapolis.
Heritage, I said on Monday, is everything about us, brought to us from our past. In Old French the word heritage essentially means “inheritance” from our ancestors.
We usually think of our ancestry, as people we know: our Mom, our Dad, maybe our Grandparents, but we are a sum of thousands of predecessors, parents, uncles and aunts, siblings, on and on and on. Each brings to us something empowering or disabling. Much is DNA; or observed and learned behaviors, and on and on.
Our “inheritance” is far more than money – or lack of same….
Thinking about how to approach Mondays topic, I decided to frame heritage as our collective “baggage” and “balloons”.
If we’re lucky, and determined, the balloons we’ve inherited have greater lift than the weight of the baggage. We can rise above much; sometimes like these inmates who were helping us today, we’re dragged down, but we can recover.
I kept thinking of Johnny Cash’s old tune, “A Boy Named Sue”, and found an unexpurgated and particularly entertaining version on YouTube. (Yes, this version has the cuss words, little kids doing fake violence and the like, but c’mon, every now and then you’ve thunk the same ’bout your own situation and who bears the blame for your state of being at some particular time!).
Somewhere out there on the internet, I’m sure, there’s analysis about what drew Johnny Cash to sing the verses of that song, and made that song so popular. Here’s one. We identify with imperfection, because we’re imperfect. Doubtless in the video that accompanies the song, those little kids who were the “actors” had fun with the rubber knife and the play gun.
I guess it’s part of the life we all experience from time to time, our private face..
But for all of us it started with a Mom and a Dad, and for them, the same, and back all through human history.
Happy Mother’s Day!
And if you’re in the area, and haven’t got your flowers as yet, try the RCCF sale this weekend, or through May 24.
A related post here.
And an interesting commentary, “Teach Your Children Well“.
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