Simple Gifts and Millions
"Now for something completely different." Monty Python Yes, a quick segue from the "ridiculous" to the "sublime". I've been listening to "The Essential YO-YO MA". His new 2-CD album is a wealth of his creativity, depth and versitility. His cello armature is multilayered, rich and warm. On the second CD, which has several more contemporary selections, he and Alison Krauss get together for a hauntingly spiritual and traditional Quaker hymn-tune, "Simple Gifts". I've played it over and over. I've known it for many years and even taught it at Danbury to a class of physically challenged students when I was a mentor teacher. The words, sentiments and beliefs of the Friends ring true for me right now:
'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free;
'Tis the gift to come down where you want to be;
And when we find ourselves in the place just right;
'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gained,
To bow and to bend, we will not be ashamed
To turn, turn will be our delight,
'Til by turning, turning we come 'round right.
I went to a "Friends" meeting once in Claremont. It is on Harrison near Pilgrim Place, but way back in. Very quiet, it was, with the congregation sitting all facing each other. Certain members got up and spoke when "the spirit" moved them. They had an observation or "testimony" and they "kept it simple" and to the point...no rambling or long-windedness. Most it was meditative. They sang, sans leader or accompaniment. These fold, traditionally, are pacifists and do not support our Country's war efforts. They were called "quakers" because outsiders thought they saw them "shaking" when they were moved by the spirit. They had the courage of their convictions and were just as brave taking an "unpopular stand". Nowadays they might be more popular in their beliefs with the way it is going in Iraq. Maybe soon, they won't be a minority.
"Millions" is the title of a movie we just rented from Netflix. It came well recommended. We enjoyed it. It was the story of two brothers growing up in England who got to move to a new and better home in the suburbs. The younger one is sweet and inquisitive. He has an obsession with memorizing the births and deaths of the Saints. He even talks with them, hallucinates them. His wants to live like they lived. The older brother is more "worldly-wise" and has a more pragmatic view of the world and all its challenges. They have the usual "brotherly squabbles" and arguments. They get to go to a new school and the younger one doesn't seem to "fit in" with his wealth of knowledge, especially about the Saints. He goes off on his own and builds a "fort" in a field near his new house with the giant boxes left over from the move. He talks to his Saints in his "Hermitage". One day, out of the blue, a big bag of money, British Pounds, comes crashing down on his "fort" as thought it were "from his Saints". The plot thickens. He has to tell his brother and they decided to hide it since their dad would have to pay taxes on it. They have to figure out what to do with it and, of course, they both have very different ideas. Here is where the humorous situations abound. To further complicate things they find out that the money was probably stolen and fell off a passing train. A bad guy comes looking for it. Now, this all happens just when the country is getting ready to convert from pounds to euros. So the found money "millions" (hence the title) will be worthless. What eventually happens and who gets the money is quite a surprise. A hint, it fits with the theme of this "post"...keeping it simple and using our "simple gifts".