This week my series Then Sings My Soul: The Hymns of My Youth sees the addition of a hymn from 1912 by Leila Morris. Leila was active in the Methodist church, camp meetings, and song writing, authoring more than 1,000 Gospel songs. When her eyes began to fail, her son built her a 28-foot blackboard with extra-large staff lines, which she used to continue composing. “Sweeter as the Years Go By” is from the early years of her blindness. I recall the song from my youth, though mainly just the first verse from that time. Interestingly enough, a favorite recording of the song is one I wouldn’t discover until many years later, and can be found on the Blind Willie Johnson album of the same title, Sweeter as the Years Go By. Lest I digress more fully into the works of Blind Willie Johnson, we need to step along to the lyrics to the hymn at hand.
I’ve been plugging away at everything and nothing lately, but it’s time for a midsummer update of a few of the things that have been in the miscellany queue recently. I mentioned on Saturday that I had been blogging “in absentia,” which means that the blog was being updated automatically with prescheduled posts. At the time we were visiting with friends at their lakeside retreat (more of a camp or “complex” than a cottage, the sort of place which has “grounds” instead of a yard or lot). It was wonderful and restful, as usual, and I even found a few hours to inject into a fledgling novel manuscript that I haven’t touched for almost a year. The image of the duck and ducklings is a reward for being awake at 5:00AM when I snapped it and a few other pics before reading for a while, grabbing a cup of coffee, and eventually going back to bed. The pace of leisure.
I met a girl who sang the blues
And I asked her for some happy news,
But she just smiled and turned away.
I went down to the sacred store
Where I’d heard the music years before,
But the man there said the music wouldn’t play.
Well, this morning very early, we are off on a road trip of some 8,000KM from Winnipeg down to Florida where we’ll spend a day or two at a beach on the Atlantic Ocean before heading down to Disney World for a few more days. After that, we’re back to Gainesville, GA for a family wedding, which was the excuse to undertake this whole thing in the first place. After about a week with relatives, we’ll head for the Mississippi Delta and spend about a day and a half touring the birthplace of the blues before heading back home. Highway 61, the Blues Highway…
We’ve got not one, but two major road trips planned for this year, which is unusual for us. In August we’re tentatively (or better) planning a trip out to Vancouver, but before that comes the trip where I’m hoping for a bit of advice. Near the end of May, we’re heading down to Georgia (just outside Atlanta) for a wedding. We’ll arrive a few days early, leaving us time for a full day at a beach along the Atlantic coast as well as the part of the trip we haven’t told the kids about yet — we’ve arranged for a three days and nights at a certain popular attraction in Orlando. Let it be said that the whole prospect of said overpopular attraction has never thrilled me. I’m not into rides or cartoon characters walking around, nor am I into the prices that said attraction commands. But this is for the kids. And the wife… though I’ve been assured I’ll enjoy it as well. Hey, vicarious enjoyment is still some kind of enjoyment, right?