I dedicate my song today to my brother-in-law, John Gautry, who has been married to my sister Eileen for over sixty years. They married when she was a mere sixteen when I was living in Canada for a few years. John is around my age and has worked hard for his family of three lovely daughters to give them all a good start in life. He has also worked hard to keep my sister in airfares, flying across to Jersey every month to see her oldest daughter and her family. Enjoy your special day, John. Billy and Sheila xx
I also wish a happy birthday to my great-nephew, Reubin. who is the son of my niece, Evie, who lives in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire. Enjoy your special day, Reubin, and I hope you like the car I sent you. Love Great Uncle Billy and Sheila xx
We also wish a happy birthday to three Facebook friends. Happy birthday to Pat Meade who lives in Ogonnelloe, County Clare in Ireland: Michelle Curran who lives in Borehamwood, Southern Hertfordshire, England: Peggy Phillips who lives in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, England. Pat, Michelle, and Peggy enjoy your special day. Thank you for being my Facebook friend.
My song today is ‘Reflections of My Life’ by the Scottish band, Marmalade. This was a hit single in 1959/60. The song was successful worldwide, reaching Number 3 in the UK in 1969, Number 10 in the US in 1970 on the ‘Billboard Hot 100’ chart, and Number 7 on the ‘Cash Box Top 100’. The group was presented with a gold disc for global sales. In 1998 the writers were awarded a ‘Special Citation of Achievement’ by the BMI for attaining radio broadcast performances in excess of one million in the US alone.
During the past three years since I have been engaged in my daily singing practice to improve my lung capacity and oxygenation levels, accompanying each recorded song of mine on my Facebook page daily has been words that indicate how the song I sing that day has reflected on my life. Such reflections have taken me back to my childhood years, when, as an Irish family we emigrated to seek a better life across the Irish Sea in West Yorkshire, England. The songs I have sung over the past three years have varied far and wide, and have reflected songs of my grandparents, songs of my uncles, songs of my parents, songs of my own youth, and also of my siblings.
My songs sung have reminded me of every stage of my life so far. They have reminded me of every job I ever undertook, whether as a mill hand at the age of 15 years, or a professional singer for a few months in Canada at the age of 21 years, or as a mill manager at the age of 25 years, or as a probation officer at the age of thirty, as a published author at the age of 47 years, or as a person living with three different body cancers for most of my 70s. The songs also remind me of the many good and famous people who I have been fortunate to know, and the thousands of people who have offered up their prayers for me, and who have lit their candles for my improvement in health, and have paid for masses to be said on my behalf, all across the globe. This latter group are Facebook friends who I have never met face-to-face, and never will for the most part, but they are people who have walked with me along my journey of pain and ill-health over the past decade. They are people who have taken me to their heart and given this stranger their unqualified love. They have made me feel much wanted to have felt so loved and well thought about, and I am blessed to call them 'friends'. I thank them all graciously.
The songs I sing also reminded me of my marriage to Sheila on my 70th birthday in November 2012. I was married in the autumn of my life to a beautiful widow who was 14 years younger than me, and who made my life complete. Finally, the songs I sing remind me just how close mankind is to one another. Each day I sing a song, someone on one of the twenty Facebook sites I post on in England and Ireland reminds me of ‘the reflections of their life’ that my song has evoked for them, and they thank me most graciously. They tell me in their dozens what a particular song has meant to them, and the happy memories that the song brought back to them.
Songs and singing, and all form of music is both the food of love and the food of life. I cannot imagine what life would be like without a song in my heart or a tune in my head, or to be devoid of the memory (happy or sad) which the song or piece of music stirred inside me. My mother would sing all day long as she worked in our home to care for her seven children. She could not string two notes together which were ever meant to be partnered. and would never remember the correct words of the song she sang, but none of that affected her ability to be happy whenever she sang. What words she did not know, she simply made up, and as to anyone nearby who considered her singing to be more of a squawk than a warble, she would simply flap her wings and carry on regardless doing her washing, ironing, darning, cooking, and scrubbing the floors. Only the rich and famous had carpets in those days; the poor either had bare flags or if they were able to afford, lino.
I once my mother disparagingly that she could not sing for toffee, to which she replied, “So what? Where is it written or said that only good singers are allowed to sing a song?” She then revealed her earthly wisdom that had been born of pragmatism when she asked me if I knew why birds sing, even the ones that squawk their sound instead of warble it melodically? Her answer was, “Birds sing, Billy Forde because they have a song to sing!”
My mother, who often spoke about ‘the song of life’, was effectively telling me that we all have a special talent; a ’song of life' that we each express in our different ways. Some fashion their song of life into the clothes they design, or like my mining father, they hack theirs from the coal face. Some write, some paint, some sculpt, carve wood, chisel stone or sweep factory floors. My mother believed that we should all discover what our talent was and how best to share our talent with others. She reminded me that we each had a 'song of life' to sing, and should do so. When I asked her “Why?” she simply replied, “Because we can!”
Consider for a moment. Do you sing your 'song of life', or do you go through your life scared to come out and use your special talent as the good person you truly are meant to be? We all do something well. We can all significantly add to the life, security, pleasure, or satisfaction of another by giving them a bit more of ourselves. Who knows what tune your song of life plays? Your talent may be a constant smile on your face that has the capacity to cheer up the faces of others who are fed up or depressed? Your talent may be a listening ear, a comforting presence, the way you shake hands warmly upon renewing an old friendship, or simply conveying to a friend that you are there for them in the event of ever being needed. Your talent may be how much friendship and consideration you are prepared to extend to the stranger in the street who asks for our help.
Paradoxically, it can also include you allowing other kind people who like doing things for others, to do things for you occasionally. Your mere acceptance of their help can provide them with a worthwhile purpose to their day. So always think twice before you refuse to accept the offer of somebody else’s help as you may be denying them their first chance that day to be kind to another.
So, if you read this post from start to end today, reflect on what your special human talent and ‘song of life ‘might be. You never know, it might even turn out to be life itself, and the living of it to its fullest?
Love and peace