Sunday, November 23, 2008

All I really gotta do is live and die...

In the Traditional Roman calandar, today is "Dominica Vigesima quarta et ultima post Pentecosten," or "The (24th and) Last Sunday After Pentecost." The gospel tells of Our Lord's warning of the End of the World, as foretold by Daniel. Today's homily at St John the Beloved reminded us of what Catholics know assuming they're not entirely dim as "The Four Last Things" -- Death, Judgment, Heaven, and Hell -- and how we should live every day of our lives as if it were our last.

"Live every day... as if it were our last." That gives way to a lot of Greeting Card Spirituality, but it really doesn't have to. This is the time of year when we'll be the most tempted to take the wrong things entirely too seriously. And no, don't tell me you obsess over every excruciating detail of the perfect Christmas "for the children." I have very unpleasant memories of that neurosis from a former life. I can assure you that the Thanksgiving Days and the Christmas Days I spent alone, ordering a holiday dinner from Boston Market, setting the good china for a table for one, and seeing a matinee, were preferable to the madness that missed its entire point.

As if by coincidence, I came across this clip from Alabama, singing "I'm In A Hurry (And Don't Know Why)." This was a 1992 hit co-written by Randy Van Warmer and Roger Murrah. Van Warmer was an American songwriter and guitarist, best known for his 1979 recording "Just When I Needed You Most." (The instrumental break of this song is dominated by an autoharp. Only one other major pop star made the most of that instrument -- of all people, John Sebastian of The Lovin' Spoonful.) The song reached number four in the Billboard Hot 100 in September of 1979, and number eight in the UK, where this performance appeared on BBC's "Top of the Pops." He also had songs recorded by a host of Nashville acts, including Alabama, Chet Atkins, Suzy Bogguss, Dilly Parton, Charley Pride, Doug Stone, Conway Twitty and Confederate Railroad.

Sadly, Van Warmer died of leukemia in 2004, shortly before his fiftieth birthday. Here's hoping he was ready.

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