Of Sicilians and Songs

Buried high inside a wooden cupboard, we find it.

“Alley” by Carl Campbell, Creative Commons cc license 

A dusty cardboard box with black marker states “Tapes for Car Trips.”  And the music for our family’s road trips stands shoulder to shoulder, encased in black plastic cassette tapes labeled with my Dad’s handwriting. Pink Floyd, Dire Straits, Phil Collins, Dan Fogelberg and Bruce Cockburn. I’m not sure where all the Petra albums are, but here too are the Moody Blues and two cassettes marked simply, “Harmonica and Guitar, rock and blues.”

Later in the day, Bruce Cockburn’s husky Canadian vocals and fine guitar-playing swell through my kitchen, and the memories flood back, joy shining in.

Music is powerful.

We see it in tambourine-shaking Sicilians stepping out onto apartment balconies, stacked high to the sky. Cream-colored high rises stretch tall and the Italian men and women lean out, belt it loud, and call out new verses to each other. While quarantines fall tighter, death rates rise, and brave hospital staff around the world battle to save lives, we see beauty rise even higher.

Sicilians lean over balconies and sing to each other, keeping time with tambourines, accordions, and recording mobile phones.

I call over my husband, daughter, son and niece and hit replay on the short social media video clip of the Italians singing. Voices find their harmony, and I can see multiple instruments. Joyful, hope-filled tears rise to my eyes, and I hug my daughter. “It’s happy tears,” I explain to my son.

“There are videos of Chinese people shouting to each other from their homes too,” Morgan says, her voice close to my ear as we all lean in to watch the clip again. “They’re yelling encouragement to each other,” she clarifies as my eyebrows raise.

“Where is it?” I ask and she shrugs.

“Online, you’ll find it,” she grins and heads downstairs.

And that’s just it, huh?

As the headlines cycle, and the numbers rise, we battle it together. Together with Italy, Iran, China, and almost every other country, we can stand together.

We can stand up and lean out. We can look for ways to stand tall and to belt it out, these songs of solidarity and soul.

I hit print and watch a second sheet of paper head to our printer downstairs. “Hi, we’re your neighbors at…. As Corona Virus heats up, we wanted you to know that we’re here and we can try to help if you need it…”

I admit, I’m not quite sure how to do this. In a time of protective measures to guard those of lower immune systems, I don’t think knocking on neighbors’ doors may be the best step. So I’ll pray and brainstorm how to get it to them.

For you and me today? God is big and good, and he walks beside us. He sings songs of love to his world, and I want to do that better too.

Singing beside you, my friend, and praying for the people battling hard things in our world today.

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1 Comment

  1. cabinart on March 17, 2020 at 3:19 am

    Lovely story, and your music for family car trips sure brings back memories. Thanks for posting, Jennifer!

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