Friday, May 15, 2009

I got a lot done yesterday! It was a day off, which really makes no sense given how backed up with work we are around here, but the orders had all been placed and there was a wait period that I indulged in. I mean, I worked a little. I updated the business web site (17 minutes) and phoned a few customers about the delivery and build schedule (took all of 4 minutes). Having your own business: awesome! Having a Thursday off: priceless.

Home work has been backing up, so I mowed and fertilized both lawns, changed the oil and filters in both cars, repaired the tortoise pen, (which is not a euphemism for my writing career) and planted four or five banana trees in the yard -which I've been meaning to do for some time. (Yes, even the banana trees are backed up around here.) I was busy all day. It's amazing how busy you can find yourself on a day off, but it felt better to get those things done and caught up than to just take it easy. At the end of the day I popped open a bottle of beer, a Widmer hefeweizen. I'm sure you're aware of it, but beneath the caps on all the Widmer beers is a little prost, for when you can't think of anything. Yesterday's read: "To doing absolutely nothing on your day off!" Well, uh... no. It kind of bummed me out. I didn't want to toast this. I hesitated, but drank the beer anyway. It was the right thing to do.

After dinner, everyone went upstairs for bathtime and left me to clear the table and clean up. I always switch the music on at dinnertime, and usually go with "swing" on weeknights, sometimes "adult alternative", and "blues" on weekends. But our cable's MusicChoice channels have recently melded the "Swing" channel with the "Singers & Standards" channel, and this has wholly bummed me out. What was once a sweet selection of big band and jazzy classics now has Rod Stewart mucking up the playlist with his gravelly syrup every fourth song. And then, sitting there alone, I felt the old familiar depression edging in, out of nowhere. I abruptly found myself dwelling on all the debts and ingratitudes and unjustified pains in my world, and then I looked around at this beautiful house and heard the bath running upstairs and the pitter-patter of small feet, and the sun was setting over the newly planted palms outside and, surrounded by the dirty dishes -for which I was truly grateful- I just prayed that, were it all horribly and unexpectedly taken from us one day, that the good Lord would grant me the strength to handle the big hopeless changes with at least some integrity and, perchance, wisdom. But nothing lasts, I worried.

And then Frank Sinatra came on.

He was belting out "The Best Is Yet To Come," and I suddenly felt better. As quickly as that bold grey demon had slouched in unwelcome, it had evaporated into the ether. I felt better because I believe that some angels are the Lord's intermediaries and I believe that they sometimes work the DJ booth. And I felt better because maybe the best really is yet to come -how can any of us be sure otherwise? Anyway, my prayer had been answered. My problems weren't solved, but my attitude was, and before the song was over I had gained a sense that I could handle the problems, and that God would rather I took care of them myself. You may think it childish and simpleton, but I felt my fears dwindle because that Sinatra song came on at just the right moment. I don't believe it was an accident, and yet neither was it a miracle. It was just life, and I happened to notice. On the surface it appears that God works in big things and in small, because we humans like to differentiate, but I suspect that God doesn't see it this way. God works in all things, however mundane, dismissing or comparing not a one.

And then I went back to clearing the dishes, feeling fine, and singing along. It was just a fleeting moment of despair, a rogue wave, a test. But the boat seemed sound.

Hopefully, this weekend will be more of the same sort of accomplishment, of things getting done, I mean. The garage is a mess, my desk has dumb stuff on there that shouldn't be there, (it all must be filed accordingly) and some of the photo library needs to be annotated and updated. And I want to fit in a long run tomorrow. A real long run. It would be nice to have a clean slate for Monday, as the coming weeks are madness. Madness! I actually had a bad dream about all the aluminum last night -I couldn't get it all done! People were upset! I'm sure you've had the same dream.

Stay busy! It's always harder to relax later if you don't work to deserve it.


Frank Sinatra recorded "The Best Is Yet to Come" on his 1964 album "It Might As Well Be Swing", accompanied by Count Basie, and under the direction of Quincy Jones. It was the last song that Sinatra sang in public, on February 25, 1995.

The words "The Best Is Yet to Come" are imprinted on Sinatra's tombstone.

"The Best Is Yet to Come"
Music by Cy Coleman
Lyrics by Carolyn Leigh

Out of the tree of life, I just picked me a plum.
You came along and everything started to hum.
Still it's a real good bet, the best is yet to come.

The best is yet to come, and won't that be fine?
You think you've seen the sun, but you ain't seen it shine...

Wait till the warm-up's underway,
Wait till our lips have met,
Wait till you see that sunshine day,
You ain't seen nothin' yet!

The best is yet to come, and won't it be fine?
The best is yet to come, come the day you're mine.

Come the day you're mine,
I'm gonna teach you to fly.
We've only tasted the wine.
We're gonna drain that cup dry.

Wait till your charms are right, for these arms to surround.
You think you've flown before, but you ain't left the ground.

Wait till you're locked in my embrace,
Wait till I draw you near,
Wait till you see that sunshine place,
There ain't nothin' like it here.

The best is yet to come, and won't that be fine?
The best is yet to come, come the day you're mine.

And you're gonna be mine...