The Carriage Driver³ - Song in her Head
As a toddler, The Beatles sang Betty Lou to sleep at night and George Jones met her in the kitchen for breakfast. There was always lightness in her step and her mind was at ease. Music was in her veins and in her heart. Her parents set goals for her and she floated effortlessly toward those goals on sheets of music that played in her head as she danced with ease through each task.
In 1981, full of youthful spirit, she hitchhiked to New York to join half a million others to hear Simon and Garfunkel in Central Park. Then in 1997, she repeated the journey, this time by bus, to see the Garth Live concert. This time it was her and ninety-eight hundred thousand others in attendance. She was there at the Live Aid concert in Philadelphia when one million five hundred thousand joined in to get their music fix and a heavy dose of humanity.
The pulsing intensity of the music still filled her, but she no longer wished to sleep out under the stars along the highway or sit for hours on a bus, to be jostled and manhandled in amongst the raging inflamed mobs of music junkies. That prickly sensation of heavy cords pulsated through her. She danced amongst the stars. When showering, she bellowed her favorites with the cosmos.
Sure, there had been moments along the way. She wandered down the alley of heavy metal and came running out with her hands covering her ears and screaming in an effort not to let any of that sound inside her. And the beer and tractor music made her eyes twitch, like fluorescent lights, about to fail. All in all, music is where she lived.
She philosophized, ‘who needs Kant or Schopenhauer when she had Lennon or Dylan. If you knew Mitchell and Cohen, you might get by without Hobbs and Dostoyevsky.’ Through the thunder and lightning that is life, she remained happy in her heart. She trusted the songs in her head.
The morning of her passing, she woke from the best sleep in memory. Greeted by the sunshine and a mild temperature, she slipped into her best summer frock and sandals. Total freedom seemed to engulf her being. She went out her front door. Over her shoulder, she called to her pets that she would be waiting for them when it was their time. No hurry.
Captain Griffin Chaffey had prepared his carriage earlier. Nuelle was brushed and feed. She was well groomed and well tended. Her needs were paramount to Griffin. They had traveled a good distance together. There had been little peace for him in life, but in this new adopted, occupation, he was treated to all the good in humanity. Being the carriage driver brought him an abundance of reward.
His fare this morning was a quiet man. Even as he was invited into the carriage, his countenance barely flickered. Griffin was a patient man. This morning's journey to the castle was nothing new, though it had been a while since he used this entrance.
Nuelle took the route through the Commons. The day was so perfect that there could be no question of the coming glory. The wheels and Nuelle’s hoofs clicked and clattered adding a peaceful soundtrack to the morning's journey. They had reached the pathway toward the castle when the man in the back saw her and called, “Who is that?”
Griffin looked back at him to see if he was alright. Nuelle missed a step, noticeable only to Griffin. “Who is that girl?” Then Griffin saw her.
“Stop,” called the man in the back seat.
Griffin gave a signal, Nuelle stopped. They all looked at this woman on the path to the castle. She was dancing, free from all that ever held her back. Music pulsed through her, that only she heard. Her heart raced along to the rhythm of life. Her feet tapped to the beat. Her hips emphasized the rhyme. She exuded a sovereignty of emotions.
“Stop,” called the man, not realizing that they had stopped.
Griffin looked back. To his surprise, a hint of a smile was on his face. The lines added character to his otherwise bland appearance. His eyes had a shine that was not there at the beginning of the trip.
Betty Lou turned and saw Nuelle. “What a beautiful beast,” she called.
Griffin smiled. “What are you doing here? I have been traveling this course for years and never saw anyone walking here.”
She laughed, “Have I done something wrong?” Her smile made Nuelle feel warm and welcome.
Griffin’s fare had shifted in his seat and was leaning over for a better look at her. He had never seen someone with such an air of liberation.
Griffin reached under the seat. Only the man’s name was in the book. He looked back down the cobblestone path and back toward the castle. Once his mind was made up, he stepped down and asked, “Would you like to step into the carriage?”
Betty Lou glanced at Nuelle, Griffin and the man in the seat. She extended her hand and in a quick step sat next to the occupant.
Griffin climbed up and signaled to Nuelle.
Griffin heard from his seat. “Me, I just worked. If anyone needed something, I did whatever I could to make sure it happened. What about you?”
“Oh, me, I did what I was supposed to do. I avoided many of the trappings of things. All my friends were ‘things’ people. The whole more, better, best, lifestyle just did not seem fulfilling. Sure, there was stuff, like a music collection and music videos. Do you hear that?” She looked at the man next to her.
There was the usual rhythm of the carriage wheels, but she heard more. “It is clear as if we were sitting in the best spot near the speakers at an outdoor concert.”
The castle came into sight. Nuelle continued her proud walk toward their destination. Griffin leaned forward, trying to hear what Betty Lou heard. The peace of the castle reached him, though he could not hear the concert.
The fare also leaned forward. He did not hear what Betty Lou heard, but he envied her ability to be engulfed in an atmosphere that allowed the freedom of the dance along life’s path.
Betty Lou looked up and saw the castle. She wondered where that came from. Nuelle pulled up to the large double doors. A man wearing a tuxedo opened the doors wide. He walked over and greeted Griffin. “Hello, sir. I am so glad to see you return.”
Griffin stepped down and held out his hand. Betty Lou took it and hopped down. The minute her feet hit the ground they were moving in dance. Griffin turned and held his hand out to the man whose name was in the book. He stepped down and greeted the man in the tuxedo. He extended his elbow and Betty Lou took it and danced him inside of the castle.
Griffin shook hands with his old friend and they chatted as the two new companions stepped inside the castle. The two were given all the time they needed to decide what the next part of the journey held for them.
Sugarloaf - Green Eyed Lady
Gypsy Woman - Brian Hyland - 1970.
Todd Rundgren - Hello It's Me (1972)
This story was inspired by these three sentences.
"I can be anywhere, thinking of a person with love and a song will pop into my mind. This can include funerals, hospitals, weddings, all kinds of places. Some people I love have an actual song that I associate with them." - Maria Jordan, Mar's Desk - marcoujor: On Love & Music