Wednesday, March 4, 2009


The word today is- Ditties. (I know you are wondering what this picture of laundry has to do with fact you are probably wondering what ditties are. Read on. ) I cheated and did not use the Random Word Generator on this one because it is actually a response to a request from someone. Covenant Records is putting my song Broken on their Mother's Day album, An Angel To Watch Over Me, and they wanted a little piece about my mother for publicity purposes. So I made the word of the day work for this, since I have a heavy duty busy day and am not sure I would get my Lent writing in before midnight.

March 4, 2009 ditties

I was raised in Pennsylvania, where the winter air could be biting cold. Icicles would hang from the corners of our Tudor house, reaching all the way to the ground. Those were the days I most enjoyed the chore of helping my mother with the laundry. We'd trudge down the stairs with our baskets, into the cellar where the washer and dryer lined the outside wall and where a long wooden board laid atop a set of drawers was our folding table. The steel framed single paned window steamed over as we worked, the warmth and aroma of the room infusing into freshly dried clothes. My task was to pair and roll the socks. I can still hear in my memory, these decades later, my mother's lilting voice, making up little ditties about our task as we worked. Silly little lyrics, set to made-up melodies. Things like:
"This one's blue, but this one's black.
I think we'll put this one back.
Lay them in a little stack.
The rhythm of her songs set the pace for our chore and made it fun. We sang these musical snippets back and forth to each other, like little boys toss balls to their dads. If I was slightly under pitch she'd sing the note and urge me to meet it., always following with some comment about how beautiful it was.
All my life, even still at the age of 85, my mother has spoken love and laughter and sorrow in her little songs. I suspect she sang in the heavens to me as well... "Let's go down to that new can be my little girl...."
When Mom laid my first guitar under the Christmas tree, in my fourteenth year, she sealed my fate. She has been the biggest supporter of my songwriting, from that first Mother's Day song I wrote for her back when I was 16, to my most recent recording, where images of her influence are woven into sentimental lyrics throughout the album.
A year ago my mother was very ill. We seven children gathered around her in her hospital room, our guitars ringing with familiar tunes. Mom hovered in that sacred space between heaven and earth, the doctors predicting that she would go and we children begging her to stay. For two weeks she teetered there. She did not talk. But when the strains to a familiar song came from one of our instruments, her lips quivered and soon the full lyric was wrapped in her comforting mother-voice. Thankfully and blessedly, Mom recovered.
Most of who I am I owe to my mother, and when I sing, I can feel her pleasure.


  1. oh make me weep! i'm not sure i can handle 40 days of this.

    actually i can - it's just i find myself anxious to read your words and then i get stuck on the computer and ignore so many things. i love your words - thanks for sharing!

  2. Well, I wrote my first "word of the day" today Cori. It was Humor. It took me a lot longer than 10 minutes. I can tell your words fall out much easier than mine did but with practice I will learn. I too wrote something about my mother. Mostly I wrote about being a mother and how I needed more humor. Thanks for this idea.

  3. Your Mother is a beautiful woman, all the way around - and I only know 2 of her 7... and they are so dynamic - I don't know if my meager little self could handle the awesomeness of 5 more.

    What a great entry and the woman who gave you life and celebrates your birth today with you.

  4. First, Happy Birthday, girl! I am not accepting the notion that it has already been a year since you went to Disneyland. I'll just go with it and think of you anyways on your birthday.
    Second, love the new look of the blog.... very in line with your skillful talent.
    Third, nice post. You may be glad to hear that ditties is actually one of our vocabulary words in fourth grade.