On May 22nd, 2017, Mum Elizabeth passed away, having spent the last nine years of her life as a resident in an ‘Oakworth Manor Nursing Home’. I never knew Sheila’s mum outside her Nursing home residency, where we would visit often. Sheila would take Mum Elizabeth a walk most days. I would accompany them when I could but for the last three years of her life, my own illness and effective absence of an effective immune system prevented me. During the years, I knew Mum Elizabeth, she had five favourite things in her life (apart from seeing her children, Sheila, and Winston, and our rough collie, Lady, who sadly died a few years ago). The joys and favourite treats of her life were listening to music: reading her bible: singing her favourite hymns: going for her daily walk in the fresh breeze and warm air: looking at a tree outside her lounge window: eating chocolates and smiling. Indeed, she conveyed an aura of constant happiness, and I never saw her when she did not have a smile on her face that was not larger than her face itself. It was as if her huge smile extended beyond the circumference of her face, providing her with the image of a constant halo to illustrate her innocence, natural goodness, and wholesomeness of person. We miss you, Mother Elizabeth and I regret not having known you earlier in my life. God bless you. Sheila and Bill xxx
On 21st May our Californian family friend Kitty Hite died. Kitty was one of those special people who you did not have to meet face-to-face in order to love. One did not have to be in their physical presence to know that one was in the presence of ‘goodness’. It was fate that led to Kitty’s friendship with the Forde family. Many years ago, her son, Blake and his close friend were backpacking around Europe. Like all backpackers in their early twenties in a foreign land, and away from home and family support, the two young men were frequently without accommodation, food, warmth and shelter. Over a three-month period, I took them into my house where they would visit for four or five hours daily to eat, rest, socialise and keep warm. Blake finished up in Denmark where he still lives with his wife and their two children. His mother remained forever grateful for the assistance that the Forde family had bestowed upon their son in his hours of need. Rest in peace Kitty. Bill xxx
We also wish four of my Facebook friends a happy birthday today, in recognition of their special day. They are Margaret Drohan and PJ Slater Senior who lives in Carrick-on-Suir, Tipperary, Ireland: Liz O Rourke who lives in Roscrea who lives in Tipperary, Ireland., and Liz Mcfarlane. We hope the birthday boys and girls enjoy their special day. Thank you for being my Facebook friend.
My song today is “What the World Needs Now is Love Sweet Love’. This is a 1965 popular song with lyrics by Hal David and music by Burt Bacharach. First recorded and made popular by Jackie DeShannon it was released on April 15, 1965. It peaked at Number 7 on the ‘ US Hot 100’ chart in July of that year. In Canada, the song reached Number 1.
Co-songwriter Burt Bacharach revealed in his 2014 autobiography that this song had among the most difficult lyrics Hal David ever wrote, despite being deceptively simple as a pop hit. He explained that they had the main melody and chorus written back in 1962, centering around a waltz tempo, but it took another two years for David to finally come up with the lyric, "Lord, we don't need another mountain." Once David worked out the verses, Bacharach said the song essentially "wrote itself" and they finished it in a day or two.
The song's success caught the two songwriters completely by surprise since they were very aware of the controversy and disagreements among Americans about the Vietnam War, which was the subtext for David's lyrics. Bacharach has continuously used the song as the intro and finale for most of his live concert appearances well into the 2000s. The song was originally offered to singer Dionne Warwick who turned it down at the time, saying she felt it was "too country" for her tastes and "too preachy" for her listeners. The song was also turned down by Gene Pitney over a money dispute.
The central message of this song for me is summed up in the lines :
"Lord, we don't need another mountain.
There are mountains and hillsides enough to climb.
There are oceans and rivers, enough to cross, enough to last
‘til the end of time”.
This song essentially is telling us that we have all we need in this world of ours if we learn to live within our means and share what we have. And the most important thing of all we can share is our love, a commodity of humanity that is sadly lacking in the world.
When I was a teenager, every now and then I might catch the words of a Thomas Malcolm Muggeridge on our radios and television screen. Born in 1903 and who died in 1990, Muggeridge was an English journalist and satirist. His father, H.T Muggeridge was a prominent socialist politician and one of the early Labour Party Members of Parliament for Romford in Essex. Seeped in politics, In his twenties, Muggeridge was attracted to communism and went to live in the Soviet Union in the 1930s, but the experience eventually turned him into an anti-communist. He was a British spy during ‘World War 11’, first in east Africa and then in Paris. In the aftermath of the war, he converted to Christianity and he was largely responsible for bringing Mother Teresa to the attention of the western world. He was also an ardent critic of the sexual revolution and the use of drugs.
Muggeridge kept detailed diaries for much of his life, which were published in 1981 under the title ’Like it Was: The Diaries of Malcolm Muggeridge’, and he developed them into two volumes of an uncompleted autobiography ‘Chronicles of Wasted Time’(published in 1972). Definitely considered to be a highbrow read for students of history, religion, politics, communism and social reconstruction of society, very few people of my age (30 years) would have had it on their bookshelf or would have entertained many of his beliefs beyond the first chapter. Still, fifty years ago his thoughts were as revolutionary refreshing as the Russian Revolution appeared by many to be during the Second World War period.
Although I debunked his view on improving economic conditions globally when I first started listening to him, he was undoubtedly revolutionary for his time having had many personal conversions during his time, he always spoke his mind, however popular or unpopular that made him.
The idea I debunked fifty years ago was when he postulated that for the western economy and way of life to survive into the next generation, we would all have to deliberately cut our standard of living. Today, I would have to bow down to his foresight and profound wisdom as I now believe to be the case. We need as a world to consume less in the west so that people in the poorer parts of the world can consume more. It matters not whether we talk about food and agriculture, gases and fuels that threaten to warm our planet and throw it into climate chaos, preserve our waters and conserve our rain forests. We need to consume less to get more out of our lives and the only thing we need to consume more and more is ‘love sweet love.’ God bless you, Malcolm, who was a man before his time.
Love and peace