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Temporary End

From Behind the Pine Curtain

Temporary End – musings by Randy Lewis Brown on “From Behind the Pine Curtain”

“Another link in an endless chain

Behind the joy here comes the pain

But wait… here comes the joy again

Just goes to show that you CAN tell

Something’s over when it starts again

Someday losers always win

When the homeless all go home again to the Temporary End”

Temporary End by Randy Lewis Brown

“Temporary End” is song that I wrote years ago but it was never performed or recorded. It remained forgotten until a sleepless night, when my regrets and my over-busy brain dredged it out of my glitching memory bank. I wrote it at a time when songs came to me quicker than I could manage them, and many of them still lay unused on the cutting room floor. I honestly can’t tell you what the lyrics were intended to mean, but that the words simply felt comforting and somehow right to me.

Last month my wife, Barbara, and I celebrated our fiftieth anniversary on a trip to Hawaii with our two grown children and their families. It was a beautiful and joyful experience except for the fact that Barbara’s brother, who was also my best friend in high school and a long time musical partner, passed away from colon cancer during our trip. It made for a roller coaster of emotions and a bittersweet celebration. That I have lived seventy years and have been married for fifty of those years seems almost impossible, and it’s sobering that folks I grew up with have grown old and, one by one, are passing on. It makes me ever more determined to make every minute count before my own turn comes.

These days it seems that much of life has become bittersweet. The beautiful celebration and trip with our family was joyful beyond words, yet also a strong reminder not to put off the important stuff. By that, I mean being with folks you love, letting them know how important they are to you, and living your life attempting to leave the world a tiny tad better than you found it. We have no idea what lies just down the road or how the arcs of our lives influence others. In his song “For a Dancer Jackson Browne sings “Somewhere between the time you arrive and the time you go, may lie a reason for your life you’ll never know.”. Truer words have never been written. So I dedicate this month’s column to one of my oldest and dearest friends, brother-in-law, long time band mate, and cycling buddy: Johnny Mack Hutchins. Rest in peace my friend and hopefully I’ll see you on the other side.

I have long asked myself why I keep writing songs, performing and writing this column. To be honest, I do it for one very simple and selfish reason: legacy. When I say legacy, I don’t mean achieving some kind of fame or a narcissistic dream of living on though my work. Rather the legacy I want to leave is to my great grandchildren and all those who follow. You see, I have no knowledge of the real lives of my great grandparents. I know when they were born, where they lived and when they died. But those facts communicate almost nothing of their personalities, dreams, and thoughts. I can imagine their lives during the times and places they lived but I have almost no real knowledge of them beyond the basic facts. I want my progeny to have an opportunity to know or at least have a strong indication of who their great granddad was. That way they might feel some connection for what was, long after I am no more. I hope that it might help them understand that their life can be as important and fulfilling as they make it. I feel I owe them that much, since I will be responsible for their future existence.

Time continues to move forward one second hand tick at a time and no power can stop it or even slow it down. All things will end, as well as all that follows. Some day, sooner that I want, I am sure, I will face my own end. But I do not fear death, whatever it may hold. It is an the inevitable outcome; the period at the end of the sentence that is life. But my sentence will be followed by those of my children, grandchildren and onward. I am hopeful that the music and writing I leave behind will inspire my descendants to create their own legacies and form a chain of personal histories that help inform, inspire and grow future humanity into something greater than that of their fumbling ancestors.

So, are there temporary ends? There is no way to know for sure. But even without knowing, I still believed that for every end there will be a new beginning. So write your songs, create your art, dream your dreams and live your life as fully as possible. If for no other reason than to edify those who come later. You are communicating your loves, losses, hopes, dreams and fears to those who follow, shouting out across the years that our lives, though lived under different circumstances faced the same challenges. In that knowledge, we might ease the anxiety of those who follow. We will never know what effect our legacies will have on the future. But isn’t it worth making the effort to leave something of yourself behind?

So until next month…

Randy Lewis Brown can be reached from his website or via email. 

Enjoy previous columns here: I Am a Snowflake: A Tale of Artistic Cowardice

Randy Lewis Brown may be an over-the-hill, baby boomer and cranky old coot, but he is also an award-winning Northeast Texas-based singer-songwriter and self-proclaimed “performing philosopher”. Despite his years, and an early bedtime, he remains steadfast in attempting to decipher the intersection of spirit, faith, science and the human condition, always trying to maintain a sense of wonder and whimsy in his occasionally clever folk-Americana songs and stories.

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