Why Don’t We Sing When We Grow Up?
It is tragic, because I love to sing … especially with others. Singing liberates and equalizes. It takes us out of our doctor/lawyer/brick layer shell and unifies us into something so much more pure. More universal. Harmony.
We need to sing now more than ever. And sing we did this past weekend in the scrappy hills of Northern Georgia at the Camp Coleman 50-Year Reunion. Looking up into the tall trees from the chapel, I sang and I cried, my arms draped around the same shoulders they adorned in the 70s. The sanctified soundtrack of my youth, from the lips and guitar strings of Patti Linsky transported me. Took me back to the boy I was and still am … Way Down Deep. I thought hard about that boy … and the man I am now. I was a scrawny kid with braces and a Michael Jackson fro. But my dreams were huge. Did I honor these dreams? Did I turn into what I wanted to be when I grew up? Did this life thing work out the way I so fervently hoped it would when I looked up into those same trees in 1975? I am profoundly relieved to say that, for the most part, it did.
Camp Coleman isn’t even that pretty. Brush-filled hillsides erode into a so-called lake choked with brown algae. Musty cabins sink into carrot-colored clay. No water ski boats. No horse stables. Nothing fancy here. Even the weather was iffy. But none of this mattered. The people make the party. Period. And the people were there. The kids that were kids when you were a kid. The guys you worshipped. The girls that had a crush. And vice-versa. The people that embraced your bedhead fro. And tube socks. And streaking to the girls’ side.
We only have one youth. And one set of players in that ancient drama. And there they were.
Now rabbis and writers and “Best Lawyers in America.” At least, that is what they are to the world outside. But to you, they are the kids in the next cabin. The counselors you wrote your mom about. The cohorts that snickered and pranked and joined you in your hearty teenage laughter. And your Holden Caufield tears. These are your people. The real deal. The deep water.
And boy that water was sweet. I did not even realize how thirsty I was.