Thinkerfromiowa's Blog

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What a Wonderful World

What a Wonderful World

Hello, everyone.

Today (5/12/13) is Mother’s Day. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir celebrated the day with a special broadcast with a Welsh baritone who sang two songs. First he sang “How Great Thou Art” and did manage to make something out of a wretched dipstick song. But the song that caught me up was “What a Wonderful World,” a truly magnificent, excellent song. I first got acquainted with the song through the rendition done by the late wonderful Louis Armstrong. The lyrics to his rendition are below. The song was written by songwriters George David Weiss, George Douglas, and Bob Thiele. Here are the lyrics.

I see trees of green…….. red roses too
I see em bloom….. for me and for you

And I think to myself…. what a wonderful world.

I see skies of blue….. clouds of white
Bright blessed days….dark sacred nights

And I think to myself …..what a wonderful world.

The colors of a rainbow…..so pretty ..in the sky
Are also on the faces…..of people ..going by
I see friends shaking hands…..sayin.. how do you do
They’re really sayin……i love you.

I hear babies cry…… I watch them grow
They’ll learn much more…..than I’ll never know
And I think to myself …..what a wonderful world

(instrumental break)

The colors of a rainbow…..so pretty ..in the sky
Are there on the faces…..of people ..going by
I see friends shaking hands…..sayin.. how do you do
They’re really sayin…*spoken*(I ….love….you).

I hear babies cry…… I watch them grow
*spoken*(you know their gonna learn
A whole lot more than I’ll never know)
And I think to myself …..what a wonderful world
Yes I think to myself …….what a wonderful world.

Yes indeed. What a wonderful world!

I cannot listen to this song or read its lyrics without crying. It is indeed a wonderful world we live in.

Out of my window I see the San Juan Mountains to the south, with snow on them when it’s cold enough to snow. To the east are another range of mountains. To the west is the Uncompahgre Plateau. And to the north there is the Grand Mesa. When I see them all, I can’t help thinking, what a wonderful world I live in.

Last year, I made a trip back to Iowa on the train. As we went through the Colorado Rockies, we crossed the Continental Divide in the 7-mile-long Moffatt Tunnel. As I viewed the majesty of the mountains, I thought, what a truly majestic world this is.

Maybe 15 years ago, Carol and I rode the cog railway to the top of Pike’s Peak. It was cloudy that day, and it rained ice pellets at the summit. But when I saw and videoed the monument to Katherine Lee Bates and her poem “America the Beautiful,” I thought to myself, what a totally wonderful world she must have seen from the top of that mountain!

In December of 1972, I made a trip at Christmas time to visit my brother and his family in New Jersey. I went by train, of course, and was privileged to go around the great Horseshoe Curve in the daylight. As I looked at the scenery through the train window, I thought, what an incredible world to demand an engineering feat like the Horseshoe Curve to get train up and over that particular range of the Appalachians!

A little further, we crossed the Susquehanna River on the Rockville Bridge, the longest stone arch bridge in the world. I looked at the hillsides that went down to the riverbank and thought how, on that drab, dreary gray morning in December, what I was seeing reminded me of pictures I had seen of the fjords in Norway. I almost imagined that I could hear the music of Edvard Grieg being played! And I thought, what a wonderful world I am privileged to be allowed to see!

As I became fully awake, I noticed a black gentleman sleeping in the seat beside me. I remember his getting on in Pittsburgh and how I was not the most polite to him because I was awakened as we went through Pittsburgh. He soon woke up, and I apologized to him for my conduct during the night. He said that there wasn’t any problem, and we got to talking. It was some of the best conversation that I have been privileged to have, and he was also most helpful to me in describing Penn Station in New York City. He was going there too and explained to me how Penn Station operates and what to expect there. I have reflected over the years on what a fantastic world we live in, to allow wonderful people like this very nice black gentleman to cross my path.

In November, 1987, I started seeing an absolutely incredible woman. Over a period of time, we learned much about each other, and we decided that we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together. Finally, a week before Christmas, 2007, she was taken from us. As I have recovered from her loss, I never ceased marveling at what a bright, beautiful world we have because it was illuminated by her presence.

In February,1972, I became a teacher at a very small boarding school in rural Iowa. That semester, I came to know a very bright, pretty young woman who went by the name of Roxy. I was her algebra teacher when she was a freshman and also had her in other classes over the next couple of years. She was one of the two smartest students I ever had. I was close to many students and became close to Roxy as well. Her teasing was an abomination, but I let her do it. In time, we both left the school and reconnected for a period of time. Earlier this year, Roxy – now Roxanne – and I reconnected on Facebook, and we both were very pleased to have those old bonds restored. What a wonderful world it is when I can have such an exceptional person as Roxanne as not only a student, but also a friend!

About the time that Carol and I were married, Carol’s sister had a baby girl named Hilary. Carol and I were able to actually watch Hilary grow up. In a sense, we were Hillie’s second set of parents because she spent a lot of time at our place with her Aunt Carol when she was too sick to go to school. Hillie became our pride and joy, and we were especially proud of her when she won the national Miss Teen USA pageant in August, 2007. She took the death of her Aunt Carol extremely hard, but she managed somehow to help her Uncle Bill get through that time. What a wonderful world it is when one can hear such a beautiful, accomplished young woman say, “I love you, Uncle Bill.”

I had, and still have, a tremendous mother. My grandmother raised me, but she gave me little except a ton of grief. My mother, on the other hand, had a portion of wisdom that was far beyond that that her mother owned. My mother taught us three boys the importance of truth and of always speaking the truth, even if it made the shoes pinch the toes to do so. My beloved mother took me on countless fruitless job interviews without ever complaining. When I would come home for a visit, I knew that a batch of Swiss steak and a batch of caramel dumplings awaited me. And my brothers and I weren’t sent to church – she took us! She was always there for all the church Christmas programs and all of the school programs that we were involved it. And I say to myself, what a wonderful world it is to have a mother as loving and devoted to her family as my mother was.

Back during my freshman year in college, the 60-61 school year, a singer named Ernie K. Doe had a hit song titled “Mother-In-Law.” Two of the lines were: “Satan should be her name / Because to me they’re about the same.” He sure wasn’t singing about my mother-in-law. Virginia is now launched on her 102nd year. She isn’t what she was when Carol and I got married, but thank God, she is still with us. Since I am legally blind, girls – and their parents – have not always been kind to me. So naturally I wondered about how Virginia felt about her daughter marrying a guy with a disability. If sh ever had a problem about it, I never knew about it. No man can ask for a better mother-in-law than what Virginia has been to me. Her love and wisdom have many times helped Carol and me over the rough shoals of life. What a wonderful world it is when a man can say things like this about his mother-in-law and mean them!

I now live in subsidized senior housing, and there are several people who live here who have dogs. This morning, when I went to the store to get a gallon of milk and a loaf of bread, a couple of ladies and their dogs were waiting on the first floor to take the elevator upstairs. One of the dogs was a little black and white bitch dog who looked like she had trouble walking. Either that, or her little mind was not on the same page as that of her owner / mother. I have cried several times over that little dog because it hurts me to see her in that condition. I have had dogs in the course of my life and I love them deeply. Indeed, it took me decades to get over the death of my little beagle mix, Sandy Dog. What a wonderful world it is when we are privileged to have these beloved selfless little critters enriching our lives!

My mother used to have some neighbors who owned horses. One time when I was home on vacation, I went out in our back yard and went over to the fence which housed the horses. Immediately when they saw me, they came over to greet me and make friends with me., Pretty soon, one of them had poked his nose over the fence, so I began to stroke him and talk to him. Immediately the other horses started to shove him aside to get THEIR noses over the fence and get their share of the loving I was giving out. Of course, I made them wait their turn, but they each got a full helping of my stroking and talking and loving. I love horses deeply, and think of what a wonderful world it is to have these beautiful majestic animals playing a part in our lives!

Carol loved the outdoors. When we lived in California, we made many trips to the ocean at Morro Bay because she loved watching the waves roll in and watching the surf crash against the rock jetty when the surf was high. Here in Colorado, she loved the second apartment complex we lived it because of the green grass, flowers, trees, and birds. There were squirrels, and one year, there was one who hung out on our patio. We more or less adopted him and named him “Jerome.” It was fun to watch Jerome and his little squirrel friends frolic and play. And though she is gone now, I know that Carol isn’t in some drab, barren locale with streets of gold. I know deep down that she is in a realm with trees, birds, grass, flowers, frisky little critters – and breakers rolling upon the beach, because the God we worshiped knew that that would be what heaven would be to Carol. A wonderful world, indeed!

George David Weiss, George Douglas, and Bob Thiele did such a glorious job of capturing my world in their lyrics. And you know, Old Satchmo’s gravelly voice somehow made this song even more beautiful than it was already. Yes indeed; we DO live in a wonderful world.

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you moms who happen to read this. And everyone have a wonderful day today, tomorrow, and evermore.

Bill

 

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May 12, 2013 - Posted by | Miscellaneous, Uncategorized |

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