month. It happens every two or three years, so it’s not all that rare. The next one will be in January 2018.
Usually, if we think of something that’s rare, we think of it as a once-in-a-lifetime kind of event. While Blue Moons aren’t that at all, there is only one of them out of every 30-40 full moons, so I think that still counts as rare.
The song by the same name is a standard that was written in the 1930’s by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart, recorded by Connie Boswell in 1935. It first became a hit in 1949.
Actually, and fittingly, it became a hit twice that year, first for Billy Eckstine and then for Mel Tormé.
Elvis Presley brought it into rock and roll in the 1950’s, and the Marcels took their version to the top of the charts in 1961.
It has been recorded in many styles and by many artists, including Frank Sinatra, Benny Goodman, the Mavericks, the Cowboy Junkies and Ella Fitzgerald.
I think we take the idea of a Blue Moon to heart. Somehow, we get this idea that there is only one of something for us, and if we miss it, we’re lost as it will never come around again.
It comes up often with job opportunities, when we just weren’t in the exact right place at the exact right time. If only we had answered that call, or gone on that interview, or given that one different answer. It would have made all the difference, and now there is only regret.
Many are doing something now for a living because they feel like they missed that one chance to pursue their dreams.
And it comes up with relationships and love all the time. Movies, television, books and music all suggest to us that there’s one chance at love, and if you miss it, you’re doomed to be alone forever.
Life isn’t all or none. And you have new opportunities to be happy, to be fulfilled, to be loved, every single day.
But the only one who can decide to be happy, to be fulfilled and to be loved is you.
That can be a lot of responsibility.
And maybe that’s why so many make the decision to not. It looks easier and there’s no risk.
And that’s the trap. Because there is all kinds of risk. You just don’t see it. And time has a way of flying by, so when you do finally see it, there’s a lot less sand left in your hourglass.
What would make you happy? There’s no right or wrong answer. But you should really think about it. Because when you get to the answer that’s right for you, it could surprise you.
And what would make you feel fulfilled? If it isn’t your current job, what would that perfect job look like? And what do you need to do to get there? You may not be able to do that today, but you can start to think and plan, and there’s an element of that which can be fulfilling in and of itself. Just the act of doing something that leads to where you want to be can ease your burden.
Then there’s love.
I used to say that I wanted to find someone who knew me and loved me anyway. At the time, I had no idea how low I was setting the bar. But having someone love you, in spite of who you really are, isn’t all that great.
On the other hand, finding someone who knows you and loves you BECAUSE of who you are, that can make all the difference in the world.
And when I say “knows you” that doesn’t mean they need to know everything about you. But they can know your heart. The rest will follow. You just have to be willing to share that.
Maybe this can all be a goal, for all of us. Happiness, career and love (not necessarily in that order).
And while we can shoot for having it all by the next Blue Moon, there’s another Blue Moon in March of 2018. And another one in October of 2020. And so on.
“Your Song” was the one that really launched him. And it was actually the B-side of the single.
For those who don’t know, songs used to be released as singles with an A-side and a B-side. The A-side was supposed to be the hit, the song the artist and the label were promoting. The B-side was just another song, frequently released as an afterthought.
In this case, Elton’s song “Take Me To The Pilot” was supposed to be the hit. But radio preferred the song on the other side of the record. And it went on to sell a million copies.
Elton has had some 11 more platinum singles, a total of 57 top 40 hits in the U.S. and 71 top 40 hits in the U.K. So far.
Just on the basis of that info, the song and its story are about perseverance. About believing in yourself, even when things aren’t going the way you want, or you just seem to be failing, time and time again.
To me, it’s a lot more than that.
It’s a love song. And it’s personal.
Many of the song’s lyrics were things I have said to the wonderful woman who is now my wife. Not verbatim, of course, but I conveyed similar messages.
I’ve never had much money. I haven’t been able to shower her with riches, and I certainly didn’t win her heart in the first place with trinkets, baubles, jewelry, etc.
All I had, and all I really still have, is who I am.
I try to be good and kind. I don’t always succeed. I work too much. I don’t take very good care of myself (most of the time). In fact, I have a pretty good list of short-comings.
But I love her. With all my heart and all my soul and all that I am.
I would do anything I could to make her happy. I don’t always succeed at that, either, but I do try. And then I try again.
In the big picture, whatever it is I try to do or to be or to achieve, is ultimately, for her and for us. That may not always be in the forefront of my mind, but it’s still the end result.
And the truly wonderful thing is that she does the same for me.
I think we live in a time where many are afraid to allow themselves to be that vulnerable. Scars from previous relationships can make us wary of exposing too much of our hearts, of giving too much. We don’t want to be hurt. Again.
But that can also keep us from being loved.
We all have our own song that we can share. Sometimes it takes some work to find it. And sometimes, we’re nervous, or even scared, about sharing it. But sharing yourself, your truth, your song, that makes all the difference.
Lisa and I got married nine years ago this week. We don’t like all the same movies or TV shows or music or food. I love the city; she loves the country. She’s an amazing singer; I can’t carry a tune in a bucket with a handle on it.
Our lives aren’t perfect. Our rescue cat is still hiding under the couch. Our dishwasher is kaput. We worry about our kids. We never have enough time for what we want to do, or just for each other.
But whatever we do have, we freely give to each other.
And I think that’s really the secret.
It’s not about flowers and cards and rings and houses and cars. It’s about who you are, who you really are, and your willingness to share that.
For Lisa, my Love, happy anniversary!
I know it’s not much, but it’s the best I can do. My gift is my song. And this one’s for you.
Her efforts to get credit caused much of the recording industry to consider her a trouble maker, and she left the business by the end of the 1960’s and focused on her marriage and children (though she did appear as a background vocalist from time to time, including on a couple of David Bowie’s albums in the 1980’s).
Legal problems cropped up again when the song was used in an American Express commercial, which she heard randomly on TV. It took three years for her to get a settlement over that one, which she finally did in 1993.
It’s been covered by many artists, including Diana Ross, Cher, Linda Ronstadt, Tom Jones, Roxy Music’s Bryan Ferry and Pat Benatar. And Melissa Manchester’s version has been the only cover to actual hit the charts.
It is also the name of an organization that tries to place pets with new owners, in an attempt to save these pets’ lives. Some shelters across the country can’t take care of animals indefinitely, and many pets wind up being euthanized.
So while this song really has nothing to do with pets, it’s that previous paragraph that made me think of it.
If you read the previous blog, or have connected with us on Facebook, you’ll know that our family recently lost one of our much-loved dogs. I won’t re-hash all of that here, just know she was loved for about fifteen years, and her passing hit us all pretty hard.
We figured we needed time to heal, and would get another dog eventually. But we needed time.
On the other hand, we kind of needed a cat.
We live in the mountains outside of San Diego, and the rural-ness of the area means there are lots of natural residents who, bit by bit, have been coming closer and closer to our home. We used to have cats, but the last one took that long walk a while back, so we’re unprotected.
We went to our local shelter and picked out a grey kitten. Her name is Audrey.
Years ago, my wife and kids did this before, selecting our last cat, also a grey kitten. They named him Seymour, after the male lead in Little Shop Of Horrors. So naturally, the new kitten is Audrey, which was the female lead in that same movie.
On the previous occasion, when they’d selected the grey kitten, they turned around and saw a black adult cat. The guesstimate was that he was eight years old, but no one knew for sure. His owner was moving into an assisted living facility and couldn’t take the cat.
It seemed so sad to leave this poor old cat in the shelter, where he would probably live out his remaining days, so they adopted him, too. And he lived for another seven years or so.
Well, this time around, as we turned around with our new grey kitten, there was another black adult cat. His name is Ox. He was eleven, and he’d been in the same situation as our previous black cat. The shelter told us he’d been there for months.
An adult cat, living in a small cage for months. That just didn’t seem right. So we adopted him, too.
While Audrey is very playful at home, Ox is still trying to decide what to make of his new situation, so he’s been hiding under the couch. He comes out a couple times a day to use the litterbox and have something to eat, and the last couple of these appearances have actually happened during daylight hours, so I think he’s adjusting.
The first picture is Audrey, finally tuckered out after playing and pouncing on things all day. I think she slept a total of ninety minutes. Since Ox is mostly under the couch, and getting a picture of him is like trying to get a picture of Bigfoot, the second photo is kind of like an artist’s rendering of what he looks like, in his lair under the couch.
It didn’t all end there.
We also came across Benji, a dog who had been there for a month or two. He’s also eleven, and had been dumped off by owners who just didn’t want him any more.
Seriously. I have no idea who people can be that cruel. After eleven years!
So Benji is now part of our family, too.
Look at that smile! I think he likes it here!
My point of all this was not to show you what wonderful people we are. I’m hoping that it sparks an idea for someone reading this to seek out their local shelter and consider bring home a furry friend or two. Especially the older ones that most people don’t even look at. They need it most.
They call these shelters and the animals there “rescues”, intimating that you are rescuing them, either from euthanasia or from living out the rest of their lives in small cages.
And I have to say that spending time with Audrey, Benji and Ox, there’s a really special feeling I get. They’re so happy to have a new home (now that they’re somewhat used to it). And you can feel that when you look in their eyes.
There is something that is absolutely magical about doing something for someone who can’t ever repay you. It makes your heart lighter, and your own problems seem so much smaller.
Is it perfect? No. They’re still dogs and cats, and they have issues. They try to eat each others food. Ox coughed up a really gross hairball one night. Benji will occasionally bark his head off at the couch, and try to fit Audrey’s head in his mouth. Audrey will sneak up on Benji while he’s sleeping and pounce on him.
Seeing Benji smile at me and wag his tail makes it SO worth it.
So while it might be corny to say, I don’t think we rescued them. They rescued us.
Ken Kessler has always been interested in psychic phenomena, and like Mulder on the X-Files, wants to believe. But like most, he tends to look for, and accept, rational explanations. (More)