Monday, August 30, 2010

Songs my mother taught me

There exist very few photos of my mother and me together. So much of my adulthood, years might go between times that we saw each other. One photo (for which I have just spent two fruitless hours searching) is of the memorable Christmas Eve that I surprised her by showing up in the living room at Kelly & Bev's, and I really love that picture that Bev snapped in the moment.

But I have thousands of moments in music to remember her by. I don't actually know many songs of contemporary worship. My history is full of old time hymns, and when I page through memory's songbook, I hear my mother at the piano and her high tenor in our family harmonies.

I find comfort in the old tunes and the plain words of belief, before boutique religion made such things obsolete. I have only to sing a few lines before the tears flow, and the connection to my mother is alive again.

Precious Memories
by J.B.F. Wright, 1925

Precious memories, unseen angels
Sent from somewhere to my soul
How they linger, ever near me
And the sacred past unfold.

Precious memories, how they linger
How they ever flood my soul
In the stillness of the midnight
Precious, sacred scenes unfold.

In the stillness of the midnight
Echoes from the past I hear
Old-time singing, gladness bringing
From that lovely land somewhere.

As I travel on life's pathway
Know not what the years may hold
As I ponder, hope grows fonder
Precious memories flood my soul.

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