GEORGIA…..GEORGIA…..THE WHOLE DAY THROUGH…….
I owe a little apology to one of my friends. Or perhaps a little explanation. She was on her way over for a nice little evening of supper and conversation, but she wasn’t sure quite exactly when she’d get here.
That was okay. Everything was ready. I “killed some time” by sitting down at my piano and wandering up and down the keyboard for a while. The music made me moody-broody; melancholy. I had landed on this song:
JUST AN OLD SWEET SONG…KEEPS GEORGIA ON MY MIND…..
When my friend knocked on the door, I let the music drift off somewhere, and let her in. As she was taking off her coat, she said, “I didn’t know you played piano…” Her comment caught me by surprise. She’d probably heard something from outside. And I don’t really play. And I told her so.
See, reading notes and moving your fingers is NOT playing piano. At least it’s not being of any use to anyone, musically speaking. I used to accompany a men’s quartet (trio, sometimes!) but I can’t do that anymore. That was a long time ago, when I lived in a very different world. And when your own father is a superb jazz musician who has been in the company of Les Paul and Johnny Smith and the Tommy Dorsey Band….well, you get a kind of skewed idea of what music “should” be.
So I told her “no.” I don’t really play piano. We chattered on about other things, but my answer has always bothered me, lingering in my mind. And maybe for that reason, so does that number I was playing….Georgia….”on my mind.”
What is this song? What does it do to people?
This is where it’s played, sometimes. Dark, smoke-filled rooms. There’s a small band in the back. Or sometimes just a lonely guitarist, with maybe a sorrowful horn or sax following along. People sitting. Drinking. Smoking. Feeling. Maybe remembering some of its lyrics from long ago…
GEORGIA….GEORGIA….NO PEACE I FIND……
Trying to figure out . . .what. What happened, how’d I get here, do I want to do anything about it…. do I want. . . .
Is there anything even to figure out? The song strings out a series of lost and lonely longings for a person, a place, a state of mind that is somewhere, just out there, just beyond reach. There is an urgent but vague unease that keeps a heart unsettled and sad, as though there is a loss which shouldn’t have happened.
JUST AN OLD SWEET SONG …
We suspect we’re entitled to a little happiness. We want to be able to look around and say, “Well, things are all right, really…” We should be able to find some sweet things, some innocent refuge where there are no cares weighing down on our soul. Maybe like childhood. Maybe like a woman who is comfortable with you. Maybe like the old days, when your spouse was still around…
KEEPS…GEORGIA….ON MY MIND….
And maybe a person just longs for a time when the world seemed like a decent place. . . .
That’s a golden moon rising over Georgia swamps. Basic and beautiful. Simple and direct. You know what the dangers are — and there are some — but in general, it’s not going to rise up and ambush you with a dark side that you didn’t know was there.
Georgia. It’s just a metaphor. The desirable woman named Georgia that got away. The place that is impossibly beautiful and peaceful, and that you had to leave behind. Or the world as it should be if only evil ones had not deceived their way to the top.
MELODIES BRING MEMORIES THAT LINGER IN MY HEART / MAKES ME THINK OF GEORGIA, WHY DID WE EVER PART?
Not long after that evening of my friend’s visit, with the song “Georgia” still in my mind, there were a few days of news articles about an occurrence in Georgia. The acuteness of the song’s melancholy longings had faded a little — until I read these articles.
The state court of Georgia had appointed a recent certain date for the appearance of the person that was placed into our nation’s capital’s wh ite ho use. He was to appear with simple identification papers. He didn’t show up. His attorneys didn’t show up. He could present no papers to prove his identity. And so Georgia has removed his name from their ballots for this year’s presidential election.
Seems like a simple question from a more innocent time. Who are you? There are three names associated with this person. More than a dozen American Social Security numbers used by this person. Three continents associated with this man’s background. And two religions. We have photocopies of his school papers. But they don’t show what he wants us to know.
Georgia is not “weird.” Georgia is one of several of our states which are trying to right some wrongs that we had allowed, but I don’t think we, as a nation, will be able to do this.
Remember those “brooding” questions up above? What happened? How’d we get to this place? Can we ever get back…? Do we even want to? I wonder how many of us know the facts of this case in Georgia’s court. We are quiet and subdued, like the people in the smoke-filled room.
IT’S A SAD SWEET SONG….
It was nice for a little entertainment……