This weekend Mom wanted to get Dad out of the house a little more as it's now been a few weeks since his open heart surgery. Yesterday, at a middle school play where his granddaughter had a leading role, he seemed to be struggling a little and felt he was going to faint. I jokingly told him that “you’re just trying to get out of the Carousel play tonight”. He said, “That’s one of my favorites. I love the music to that one”. He rested for the afternoon and was able to attend the play.
So last night, while waiting for the start of Carousel with my parents and extended family, who traveled to see my cousin perform, I looked at the Playbill wondering why I don’t know what music was even in Carousel. I turned to Dad who was sitting behind me and asked, is this THE “You’ll Never Walk Alone”. And he said “yes, but it won’t be as good as the Lettermen singing it” (Though we all now agree the performers last night DID do better, particularly the closing number was very moving).
But I grew up listening to Lettermen tapes - or could it have even been 8 tracks? :). As a kid, I never realized they were a "cover band" of sorts. So it’s always funny to me when I find out where these songs originated from. But as a child and as a family, we would belt out songs like this in the car, and songs like "Yesterday", never fully understanding the meaning and emotions of the lyrics, songs about life's storms or of loss.
So at the end of Carousel, sitting with some of the extended family, family who've traveled to funerals, to include my Sister’s (their cousin and neice), as well as Grandma’s and Grandpa’s funeral, family who travel to each other’s weddings, family who vacation together…and with more weddings and life to come. And also sitting with my Dad, who is still pulling through on a difficult and scary time. Through all these family memories, we arrive at a part in the play when the characters attempt to move beyond a death and the struggle of life...there was the childhood song and the lyrics to You’ll Never Walk Alone –
When you walk through a storm
Keep your chin up high
And don't be afraid of the dark.
At the end of the storm
Is a golden sky
And the sweet silver song of a lark.
Walk on through the wind,
Walk on through the rain,
Tho' your dreams be tossed and blown.
Walk on, walk on
With hope in your heart
And you'll never walk alone,
You'll never walk alone.
When the play was over, I saw Mom’s eyes filled with tears as we were probably sharing similar thoughts. What a blessing, to be raised with such strength and determination, "Walk on, walk on" through difficult times, to be taught such "hope in your heart", and most importantly to be taught undying family loyalty that - “You’ll Never Walk Alone”.