With a Song in Our Hearts

Summer Fundraiser 2013: Wrap-up

What a wonderful response flowed in to my concern about whether we’d make our goal for this fundraiser! As of Sunday evening, we’re just about there. Within a mouse hair or so of what we needed. If our past experience is any indication, there will be some folks coming by afterwards — I always like the stragglers, since I am notoriously in that group.

It goes without saying that we’re happy campers here at Schloss Bodissey. The Baron has prided himself on answering the thank you notes promptly since he took them over this time. The ones he gave to me to do? I promise y’all I’ll be there…soon. As always, the spirit is willing…

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This is a bit Off Topic, but it’s been on my mind of late, so you get to share:

Back in my very early years, popular music from the previous generation got embedded in tiny brain. I think I could sing before I could speak — not well, mind you, but with great enthusiasm. My Irish mother wanted to learn as much Americana as she could, so she listened to the local southern/country and western/Texas swing stations and some of the standards of the day. Classical music was pretty much absent from my environment for many years.

Later, during my stay in St. Mary’s Home, we always sang on trips and the nuns taught us easily singable camp songs and standards. And there were the old Catholic hymns we sang at Benediction. Sometimes The Big Girls would entertain us with their versions of Top Forty stuff. And some of them would bring home Broadway tunes and Tin Pan Alley songs. I was a sucker for lyrics and clever internal rhymes.

As I grew older and moved on, I became aware that other people didn’t seem to have these tunes rolling along in their heads, popping up at odd moments. Instead, they were plagued with jingles from commercials and theme tunes from TV comedy shows. Even later, I discovered these embedded songs had a kind of purpose: if I wasn’t paying close enough attention (wasn’t “attuned”) to my feeling state, my “undermind” would start the old player piano going, often with a song for which I could remember only a word or two, otherwise I didn’t even recognize it. Eventually I decided one part of myself was trying to tell another part something that “I” was resolutely ignoring. Our minds like to play tricks: one favorite of my Song Mind was to give me a fragment, a clue designed to lead me to the real Seekrit Message. Yes, it could be annoying. But sometimes it was a treasure hunt, too.

Fortunately, I had an old family friend who’d sung in nightclubs during the Depression (and long afterwards). She knew every song from 1900 onwards — some really strange stuff, too (and there I was, many years later with much of the same really strange stuff floating between my synapses). So it was that Mary became my Tune Fairy Godmother. If a song was insistently refusing to go away all I had to do was call and ask, “what is this about?” Then I’d sing whatever little piece was stuck in a circling groove.

Here’s one example; it had driven me crazy for two days when I finally made the call to ask, singing, “I’ve got the horse right here/His name is Paul Revere…/ and then… nada. No more words, just a fading, relentless tune. But Mary could always nail it. In this case, she laughed and said, “Oh my dear, it’s obvious you have the energy for whatever it is you need to do. I must warn you, though, it’s obviously a gamble.” And then she finished the song for me. I got the message immediately; what a relief to know.

Here’s a good version of this, from You Tube, of course. The repository for so many people of songs they’d thought were gone forever:

Confusing? At the YouTube page, you’ll find the lyrics and you’ll need them in order to hear the cleverness. This may be the slickest piece of show tune harmony ever done. If you go to the link and click on “About” the words will drop down. If you like show music, it’s worth listening to while reading the words.

So all of that is to tell you about the song playing in my head today as I read all your emails. This song below is older than the show tune, from the southern/country and western era of the 40s (I think). When I hear it, the image is of my childhood living room, so I’ll presume it’s from my Mother’s acculturation phase. This particular song never did go away entirely, since it would come up later whenever I was dealing with money in happy circumstances. Back in the days when we paid our bills by check, I’d hum this one. Obviously, I was attuned without any ambiguity here. These days, if I’m sorting grocery store coupons, it starts up then too.

Obviously not all my Mind Music is inaccessible or mysterious. Much of it is like this — simple, happy and easy to figure out. Y’all have given us many nickels and much to celebrate. Your response to my worried post. My concerns have evaporated now but I will admit that while I was writing to you then my mind was playing “Whatcha Gonna Do When the Well Runs Dry?” Never did like that song much, so I’m glad it’s gone.

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Here’s a hopeful email sent by one of our young readers (Yes, we do have them). She had touched us with the note she included with her donation: “Thanks for opening my eyes to the counter-jihad cause. I owe you more than you’ll ever know.” As the Baron said in his thank-you note to her, “This is the highest accolade we could ever receive, and it is moving to hear it. My goal is always to change minds at the margin, and it’s gratifying to have a sign that I have succeeded.”

Her follow-up email was a response to my story about my computer repairman:


It is my pleasure to contribute. Dymphna’s post today about the fears over low donations moved me so much that I felt compelled to contribute to a blog that helped shift my thinking in a radical way. I do hope and pray that donations will surpass your expectations and leave you even with a tidy surplus for the next fundraiser.

Times are tough for everyone as you’ve said, and I’m no exception, despite my donation to you. Like the young man in the blog post today, I too am a 20-something university student, working two jobs to ease the looming debt over my head come graduation. It’s not easy, and with the Tuition Man coming knocking in a few short weeks, I debated on whether or not to donate this time. But, the price of knowledge, and truth especially, are steep. A blog such as yours is too important to let fade away, when it’s so easy to keep afloat.

I may lack age and experience, but I’d like to do whatever I can to help you out. You can be sure that I will join the ranks of regular donors: I can’t promise they’ll be as large as today, but I’ll do whatever I can.

I’ll be praying for yours and your wife’s health, and over your blog in general. I look forward to seeing Gates of Vienna shine on for another 9 years.

That’s all we need from our readers. “whatever they can”. It’s all that is asked of any of us in life. A lack of age and experience is no impediment to those with a generous spirit. That sense of abundance, of meeting life with our hands open rather than with our fists clenched, is crucial for transcending life’s obstacles. And there are always obstacles. Generosity will carry der Kanadier further — even in her studies — than, say, another twenty IQ points.

My profound gratitude to everyone who gave during this fundraiser. Vlad won’t be paying attention to these posts — he always forgets — so when I send him his tithe, it will be like Christmas again. It’s like that every quarter: his double-take, or “What??” I have to remind him again what a tithe is and why we’re not just “being nice”. We owe him for all those Videos From Vlad. Fortunately, we can remember our indebtedness to him, even if he doesn’t think in those terms.

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Last week’s fundraising brought in generous people from all over:

Stateside: Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin

Near Abroad: Canada

Far Abroad: Australia, British Virgin Islands, Croatia, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, and the UK

Thanks to everyone who chipped in. I’ll see y’all again when the leaves turn.

4 thoughts on “With a Song in Our Hearts

  1. Hallelujah! Congratulations! Bravo! and Bravo to the Gates of Vienna reading community!

  2. I really do not have an extra $25 but i am betting many other watchers do, if I could give more, trust me I would. I give my wee bit with whole heart to you and the Baron knowing you will do the right thing. So happy you tithe to Vlad, how many videos does he give us in how many languages? I have just come through an eye problem of my own and am so happy the Baron is hanging on. This is what I want as a gift since we have been married 40 years, rather a record, these days.

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