Putting Words to the Music


Actually, I just deleted my original "preface". It became book-length...took on a life of its own. I have filed it away in the archives...either to stay or to emerge at some future date. (Hey, all the great artists, composers, and authors throughout history have left works - sometimes their best works - unfinished or unpublished!)

To cut to the quick concerning the post below...

I cheated!

Wrote the entry a couple of weeks ago. However, before "publishing", it crossed my mind that Valentine's Day was fast approaching. Loyal readers would probably expect a new posting on that special day.

Since my memory banks remain barren, I knew I faced two choices:

Unless you are masochistic...you should probably send me a thank you note. You are quite welcome...it was no bother!

Actually, it was a LOT easier on me. I find that writing these posts is becoming less and less therapeutic. Probably some new phase of the grief process.

So, without further ado...

While finishing a humorous edition of CAT Tracks to explain a brief paucity - actually total absence of stories of late, the piano music playing on my computer prompted this post...reminding me, as it did, of an even longer absence of new material on julieanewell.com.

As usual, there is a background...the ever-present "digression".

Ever hear of Jim Brickman?

Actually, I had not until a couple of months ago.

My musical interests peaked in the 60s and 70s...my college years...our courting years. After that, I made an early entry into my "crotchety-old-man era"...you know, that period when the new-fangled music not only "doesn't speak to me"...it downright gets on my last nerve! Oh, I clung to the true "artists"...those composers/performers of my youth that "rocked on", and on, and on...into THEIR old age. (Mick...Paul...It's time...)

Upon further review, Jim Brickman has been around for a while...quite a while! He's a classically-trained pianist, but prefers to play more pop-flavored, gently lyrical new age music. He worked with Jim Henson, composing music for the Muppets, Sesame Street, and Disney. Brickman released his first album (No Words) in 1994.

To make a long story shorter...Brickman's focus is generally straight piano compositions (with no words). However, he also at times enlists pop singers to provide the vocals while he performs the piano accompaniment.

The latter is what first attracted my attention to Jim Brickman...during one of my in-the-car, radio-musical sessions with Julie. This particular song was sort of a "follow-up" to an earlier post...in fact my first post about my favorite messengers, the Eagles. The post of a joint "experience" by Rachel and I concerning the phrase..."You Are Not Alone". The Brickman song, in fact, was "Never Alone". Since the earlier posting was "stronger" and jointly experienced, I chose NOT to use the follow-up. Burdening you with laments is one thing; redundancy without purpose is quite another.

When I looked up the "Never Alone" lyrics, the site offered a video of the song. I simply downloaded it, saving it to the desktop of my (old) computer...with a butterfly icon for easy access. With the switch to my new computer, it was quickly forgotten...

Fast forward...

Another day, captured by e-mail:

From: Ron Newell
Date: 2/1/2009 1:00:30 PM
To: D; K; R
Subject: The joke is on me...

Got in the car about 11 a.m. figuring on going to a Walmart to buy some cleaning stuff in case L comes tomorrow night to begin our project.

Had a couple of bills to pay/mail and a couple of bags of trash I wanted to deposit at my favorite landfill...

As I made my trash deposit, I thought...to hell with it.

However, since I hadn't been to the cemetery in a week, I decided to venture north.

Well, it became obvious that the folks up north got a bit more snow than we did...figured that this wasn't going to work. I proved to be right about that...no tire tracks into the cemetery and I wasn't going to blaze the trail. Drove a little further north and found a place to safely turn around. When I got even with the cemetery, I thought (okay, I actually said it out loud)...Julie, you gonna send me a sign? I reached out and flipped on the radio. Julie's usual "channel" was out...static. I said...Hmmm, not speaking to me today? Flipped to my other pre-set channel...commercials. I said...Julie, here's your chance...talk to me...send me a special song.

When the first song came on...I laughed out loud..."Don't you forget about me".

I thought, hell this will make a great joke to send to R (whom I keep calling "Doubting R...as", although even she has had to raise an eyebrow at a few of my "signs")

Came in the house, cranked up the Internet to find the song lyrics. (Yes...I have a lot of trouble making out more than the main lyrics on a lot of songs...and don't know most of the singers/groups.)

The irony...as I hit the search button for the song, I thought to myself (really, just thought it this time)...at least Julie kept the message straight forward and simple. The lyrics pop up...and I see the group's name that sings the song..."Simple Minds". I laughed...thought, this is a real hoot...makes the joke even better.

Then I read the lyrics...

Awwww, hell...come see about me, alone, dancing, rain...all of a sudden it wasn't funny anymore.


Simple Minds
Don't You (Forget About Me) Song Lyrics

Won't you come see about me
I'll be alone, dancing --- you know it Baby
Tell me your troubles and doubts
Giving me everything inside and out
Love's strange --- so real in the dark
Think of the tender things
That we were working on
Slow change may pull us apart
When the light gets into your heart, Baby

Don't you forget about me
Don't, don't, don't, don't
Don't you forget about me
Will you stand above me
Look my way, never love me
Rain keeps falling
Rain keeps falling
Down, down, down
Will you recognize me
Call my name or walk on by
Rain keeps falling
Rain keeps falling
Down, down, down

Don't you try and pretend
It's my beginning
We'll win in the end
I won't harm you
Or touch your defenses
Vanity, insecurity

Don't you forget about me
I'll be alone, dancing --- you know it, Baby
Going to take you apart
I'll put us back together at heart, Baby
Don't you forget about me
Don't, don't, don't, don't
Don't you forget about me

As you walk on by
Will you call my name
As you walk on by
Will you call my name
When you walk away

Oh, will you walk away
Will walk away
Oh, call my name
Will you call my name

Now, before you go accusing me of breaking my vows - the no-more-laments New Year's Resolution - I ask that you consider the entirety of this post!

Please keep in mind two things:

Remember...this has all been "background"...a digression!

Also, you might ask...what the heck has this got to do with Jim Brickman...you know, the piano player.


The "Doubting One" responded to the above e-mail, commenting that yes, indeed, there were a lot of sad songs out there. She also offered constructive criticism...that maybe, just maybe, I should switch genres. Quit listening to my "sad-songs station"...and try classical music - i.e. music with NO WORDS! (She did admit that some classical music can have a somber tone, but...)

Actually, I do have some classical music, but I did not follow up on her suggestion. So there!

Okay...it's time...time to reveal the "rest of the story"...the WHY of this belated posting.

A couple of days after my friend gave her sage advice about classical music, I ventured to Cape Girardeau...one of those "get out of the house" moments. I had stopped at Staples to check out computer stuff. Upon leaving, I decided that maybe I'd purchase a new book or two. Didn't feel like confronting myself with a multitude of choices (i.e. Barnes & Noble)...and I absolutely despise the Cape Girardeau Walmart.

That's when I remembered that the Target store was in the same parking lot. I NEVER go to Target...okay, maybe 10 times in my life. But, today would be one of those days!

Found my book. Figured to "make a day of it" and wandered over to the movie/music section...nothing. Then headed for the exit.

About half-way to the checkout counter, I spotted a display out of the corner of my eye. It was one of those "relaxation music" displays...you know, the ones that have various musical instruments playing lilting musical interludes, usually accompanied by birds chirping, waters rushing, loons looning.

Well, I used to buy those for Julie sometimes...especially the kind that had rain raining and thunder thundering. In fact, Julie preferred those WITHOUT the music...rain and thunder were just fine, thank you!

I stopped and looked. Heck, I even listened. (As you probably know, they have the displays set up so that you can "sample" the music by pushing a button. I didn't actually push any buttons. Evidently they have a motion sensor anymore...or something.)

Yep, finally, heeeeeeeere's Jimmy.

Actually, they had some Jim Brickman albums displayed. (My later research indicated that he made an exclusive deal with Target for a couple of mood-music albums...one entitled "Faith" and the other "Hope". Hmmm...guess it's good I happened to stop by Target that day. Hey, when the spirit moves ya!)

Now, I don't buy this kind of music...for me. NEVER!


Also...there was that song I liked...a couple of months back..."Never Alone".

What the heck...I'll buy one! I decided on "Hope"...had already acquired the "faith" back when the butterflies did their thing. In keeping with the spirit of my friend's advice to avoid words and sadness, what better "mood music" than HOPE?!

Made my purchases, got in the car, drove home.

Made it about half-way home...

Turned on the radio... Hey, you didn't expect me to go "cold turkey"!

Now, I don't remember if it was the first song...the third song...whatever.

In fact, I didn't even pay any attention when it first started playing...guess I'd zoned out.

The first thing that caught my attention was the piano. I don't know if I would even have noticed except for having just purchased a CD of piano music. It crossed my mind...wonder if this could be a Jim Brickman song? It had words, but as I mentioned earlier, he does both types. Nah, that would be too coincidental.

Then, I listened to the words..."Love of My Life". Well, you know my immediate response to that..."Yes, she was!"

My radio station does not identify songs or artists. I truly hate that because sometimes I am unable to identify the song later. Well, my curiosity was peaked. I mean, I don't look for signs...don't try to "create" signs, but I don't try to ignore/deny what naturally happens.

So, as soon as I arrived home, cranked up the computer and Googled "Love of My Life".

Talk about confirmation!

I told you above that I did NOT need to buy an album to reinforce my "faith". Julie "sealed THAT deal" shortly after her passing. I know what I believe. I am without doubt.

People frequently say that "the Lord works in mysterious ways."

Rachel has often said in her blog that Heaven has a new angel - the Archangel Julie - who watches over Rachel as she wanders former war zones on the African continent...sending rainbows or appearing on billboards (Winky Traders) and paintings (You Are Not Alone). I believe her...

I believe Rachel because the Archangel Julie keeps talking to me...even if I try to "run and hide" by buying wordless music.

Yes, the Jim Brickman album "Hope" is totally instrumental...all piano, nary a word. But, leave it to Julie to let me know she's got her eye on me at all times...that she knows to what I am listening.

Yes, the song on the radio WAS by Jim Brickman (with vocal by Michael W. Smith).

Coincidence? Well, I went back and counted...looks to be about a half dozen or so. Personally, I don't think so.

I believe that Julie was having some fun with me...letting me know REAL QUICK, "Ronnie, you can run, but..."

Love of My Life
By: Jim Brickman w/ Michael W. Smith

I am amazed
When I look at you
I see you smiling back at me
It's like all my dreams come true

I am afraid
If I lost you girl
I'd fall through the cracks
And lose my track in this crazy lonely world

Sometimes it's so hard to believe
When the nights can be so long
And faith gave me the strength
And kept me holding on


You are the love of my life
And I'm so glad you found me
You are the love of my life
Baby put your arms around me
I guess this is how it feels
When you finally find something real
My angel in the night
You are my love
The love of my life

Now here you are
With midnight closing in
You take my hand as our shadows dance
With moonlight on you skin

I look in your eyes
I'm lost inside your kiss
I think if I'd never met you
About all the things I'd missed

Sometimes it's so hard to believe
When a love can be so strong
And faith gave me the strength
And kept me holding on

You are the love of my life
And I'm so glad you found me
You are the love of my life
Baby put your arms around me
I guess this is how it feels
When you finally find something real
My angel in the night
You are my love
The love of my life

Faith and hope. (Did I mention that the "Love of My Life" song was from the "Destiny" album? How appropriate from the girl who kept telling me - with witnesses to back her up - that she dreamed me into life!)

"Thank you, Julie...for not being angry! As you know, I really wasn't trying to 'turn you off'. I was just trying to follow the advice of well-meaning friends. You know how they could sometimes lead us astray...us being so trusting, so accommodating!"

Yes, the love of MY life let me pick out the music (led me to the music?), but Julie then selected a special song...putting just the right words to the music. Julie gave me faith shortly after her passing...at a time it was sorely needed. Julie continues to send little reminders...frequent injections of hope.

So, on this special occasion, I feel it VERY appropriate for me to say...

"Happy Valentine's Day, Julie!"

The love of my life...

You want one more "coincidence"...

I use an e-mail program called "Incredimail". As I recline in my retirement "rocking chair", it's nice to have the butler take care of my basic needs.

Actually, what I am referring to is what my e-mail program calls a "notifier". I set my program to check for new e-mail every ten minutes. If there is new mail, "Jeeves" (the butler notifier) stomps (since this old deaf man has the volume turned on high) onto my screen and announces "You have mail, Sir!"

(NOW, you know why I am so quick to answer your e-mails! The butler did it!!!)

Anyway, during this period of coincidences, I received one of those automatic notices...that an update to my e-mail program was available for download. I clicked "yes"...download that sucker!

Well, as the program updated, it did one of those "here's what's new with your upgrade."

What, pray tell, was new?

Why, a new "notifier".

And, what pray tell, was the new notifier?


Posted the above entry at midnight...

Actually, in addition to "cheating"...I lied. After some revision, it was about 10:45 p.m. on Valentine's Day Eve. I figured, heck, ain't nobody gonna to be visiting at this time of night...so I went ahead and posted it with a February 14th posting day. No harm, no foul.

Speaking of "fowl"...

Sat down a little after 3 p.m. this afternoon to re-read the entry prior to making a trip to the cemetery. Gotta say...I can sure bring a tear to my eyes!

Got up out of my computer throne and went to the bathroom to get some tissue...to then head out the door.

For "whatever reason"...I decided that maybe some "heavy duty" tissue might be better suited for my runny eyes and nose. Came out of the bathroom and went into Julie's pride and joy...her kitchen. Grabbed a sheet of Bounty paper towel (figured that would be an suitable soaker-upper) and blotted the leaking liquids. Okay, maybe it was more like "Blow, Gabriel, Blow!"

Then, one of those "out of the corner of my eye things" just happened...some movement out the kitchen window. I turned to look and saw something that maybe I have seen once or twice before...but not in years.

Sitting in the limbs of my pear tree...(no, not a partidge)...BETTER ...two doves...I kid you not, doing a bit of "necking"!

Not being an ornithologist, I can't say for sure they were the proverbial "turtle doves", but they indeed WERE doves...NOT pigeons (although even that would have been pretty darn impressive!)

As I keep saying...truthfully...I do not go looking for these signs. They, indeed, just happen.

Have to admit that my first impulse was to go get an instant camera out of the computer room...and, in fact, did. As I walked toward the kitchen window, I unboxed the camera...was going to take a picture...was going to have PROOF! However, as I contemplated removing the silver inner wrapping, I changed my mind...deciding that I did not want to take the chance of disturbing such a peaceful scene.

Plus, if you are truly of the Doubting Thomas variety...it wouldn't make any difference anyway! You'd accuse me of staging the event (or taking the picture months ago) and THEN conveniently writing an article to make it appear "special"...Heaven-sent.

So, I stopped, turned around, took the camera back to the computer room and, instead, sat down to type this addendum about the "Love of My Life".

Rachel will understand...

So, my special thanks to the Archangel Julie for yet another demonstration of her eternal presence...her eternal love.

Bye y'all...I've gotta trip to make before night falls!