A blanket full of sand. A bottle of suntan lotion that didn't do a thing to protect you from the sun because, in those days, none of us knew we needed to be protected from it -- but we liked that it smelled like coconut. And a tiny radio that played silly songs, like "High Hopes" and "Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer." And, oddly, lots of songs about cars: "Beep Beep" and "Little GTO" and "Spring, Little Cobra."
It is summer again, almost fifty years later. Some faces at the train station are relaxed and even smiling, but many commuters look worried. I try to imagine their hearts' longings: which one are they worried about? Money? Their jobs? Their children? The war? I imagine them back then, the men with full heads of hair, the women with smooth, uneventful faces and no vertical lines between their eyebrows. Who knew, back when those summer songs first came out, that growing up would be a journey into dread? None of us.
But maybe it doesn't have to be dread. Danger, yes; bad stuff happens, and it happens to everyone. But I know one thing that I didn't know when I was young: the time when everything is falling apart is also the time when Christ is very close. That's what the crucifixion was: everything falling apart. But resurrection was only three days away.
I can still stay close, when my worst fear comes true. I can howl my need and my pain heavenward, if I can howl it nowhere else, and then I can still breathe in the life that still remains. There is a place of love in which to put the very worst that happens. Another heart holds us when our own hearts are too broken to be of any use.
And now, from a lighter time, one of those silly songs:
Next time you're found, with your chin on the ground
There a lot to be learned, so look around
Just what makes that little old ant
Think he'll move that rubber tree plant
Anyone knows an ant, can't
Move a rubber tree plant
But he's got high hopes, he's got high hopes
He's got high apple pie, in the sky hopes
So any time your gettin' low
stead of lettin' go
Just remember that ant
Oops! There goes another rubber tree plant
When troubles call, and your backs to the wall
There a lot to be learned, that wall could fall.
Once there was a silly old ram
Thought he'd punch a hole in a dam
No one could make that ram, scram
He kept buttin' that dam
'Cause he had high hopes, he had high hopes
He had high apple pie, in the sky hopes
So any time your feelin' bad
stead of feelin' sad
Just remember that ram.
Oops! There goes a billion kilowatt dam
All problems just a toy balloon
They'll be bursted soon
They're just bound to go pop
Oops there goes another problem kerplop
Lyrics/music: Cahn/Van Heusen