Love You To…????

This phrase I understand: “Love you, too!” (Meaning: “Love you, also.”)

 

And yes, I grasp the vaguer meaning of this phrase: “Love you two.” (As in: “I love John first, but I love you two”).

 

But now, consider the curious phrase: “Love you to…” — It’s a quandary! It’s an unfinished preposition waiting for a following noun. (As in: “Love you to death!” or “Love you to pieces!” or “Love you to the end of time!”)

 

Or… it could be an unfinished infinitive waiting for a following verb. (As in: “Love you to love me.” Or “Love you to listen.” Or “Love you to comprehend what I’m saying”).

 

But as George Harrison’s title stands – without any other nouns, verbs, or explanations to complete it – the phrase is incomplete, unclear, and ambiguous. And really, that is where George Harrison was when he penned this 1966 song. Recently returned from a trip to India where he had begun sitar studies under Ravi Shankar and the study of the Hindu religion, George was an excited newbie. He was completely enthusiastic, but green – an amazed young man muddling through the murky waters of a complex, new faith and an equally complex mode of musical expression. George was a bit overcome.

 

Recently married to Pattie Boyd, George wanted to make this song a love ballad for his wife. He really did! But the tenets of his new faith kept pulling at him, sternly reminding him that:

 

A lifetime is so short,
A new one can’t be bought…

The brevity of existence kept bothering George, niggling at him – and those beliefs transformed his love song into a serious warning refrain: a song about living not only for today, but also living a life worthy of the hereafter.

 

George tried to shrug off his feelings of impending doom: of death at his back, of time running out, of life slipping away, but in “Love You To,” he failed to escape that weighty influence. Even when employing his famous, droll Harrison humor to minimize the song’s grim overtones, the boy’s wit was still dark:

 

Love me while you can,
Before I’m a dead old man!

 
he said. Despite his best efforts, George’s love song kept slipping into a sermon. No matter what George tried to say (or sing), his bride’s ballad kept circling back around to one all-important message: Life is short; time is limited; live prudently! Or in George’s adaptation:

 

Each day just goes so fast
I turn around, it’s past…

 
It was a bit depressing. As the song neared its close, George struggled to find something to smile about, to celebrate.

 

Well, a bit before The Beatles’ time – when the poets of the Middle Ages felt death pressing down upon them, they decided that the wisest thing to do was to carpe diem…to “seize the moment!” They decided to make hay while the sun shines! To quote Medieval poet Robert Herrick’s words, “Gather ye rosebuds while you may!”

 

And in 1966, George reached the same conclusion. He decided the very same thing. At the end of his song, he advised Pattie (and all of us) to go for the gusto! To grab happiness while you can! To smile while you still have teeth!

 

Make love all day long!
Make love singing songs!

 

he advised us. It was the only viable solution to mortality that George could offer.

 

By The Summer of Love (1967) when George released “Within You, Without You” as the opener for Side 2 of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, both his faith and his acumen on the sitar had reached a higher plane. By then, he was able to speak with more depth and wisdom. But here on Revolver, George is clearly grappling with a vast belief system and an intricate musical genre, so he falls back on immediate gratification as a ready, easy solution.

 

Or maybe…maybe George’s answer was, in fact, the very best solution anyone could offer.

 

In 1967, John Lennon would so famously tell the world that, “Love is all you need.” And here, George is voicing the exact same sentiment. In light of death, aging, and fleeting existence, the youngest Beatle turns to Pattie and to us, advising everyone to cling tightly to love. Sage advice, I think. Perhaps our kid wasn’t such a newbie after all.

 


Jude Southerland Kessler is the author of the John Lennon Series: www.johnlennonseries.com

 

Jude is represented by 910 Public Relations — @910PubRel on Twitter and 910 Public Relations on Facebook.

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Here Comes The Sun

Today in Boston, New York, Washington, D.C. and even Louisiana, COLD has gripped the nation. The sky is “a hazy shade of winter” (with nods to Simona and Garfunkel). We are locked in The Grey Zone…those interminably dark days just before Spring.
 
And for some people, it’s pretty darn depressing.
 
The Beatles reminded us that when things look and feel the worst (when politicians battle instead of perform, when ISIS rages, when religion becomes a reason for persecution once again), there is still hope. They reminded us that even then, there is hope ahead:
 
“Little darling, it’s been a long, cold, lonely winter,
Little darling, it feels like years since it’s been here!
 
Here comes the sun; here comes the sun,
And I say, “It’s all right!”
 
Sure, we know the words. We all know the lyrics, but applying them to life is another story.
 
Last week, I visited New Orleans for Mardi Gras – something we Louisiana girls do as a natural part of our heritage. But this time, instead of doing the “same ole, same ole” thing, I sought out new sights, new inspirations to dispel winter’s gloom. And I found the towering, breathtakingly lovely Church of the Immaculate Conception on Baronne Street, close to the French Quarter. After walking miles and miles, I finally located it, opened the immense, wooden door, and stepped quietly inside. This is what I saw.
 

 
Outside it was freezing: windy and raw. But inside, I discovered a haven of loveliness. For many minutes, I sat in silence and looked all around, taking beauty in. I sat alone and listened. I noticed.
 
To my left was a window shaded sheltered in an alcove, set apart. I looked at it for a long time.
 

 
Then my eyes wandered to a second window farther down the wall, burning with light.
 

 
What a lesson was there! The windows were identical: constructed of the same stained glass and oak, designed by the same brilliant artist, created in the very same year. The single difference in these two works of art was that one shone in the sun and the other one sat in darkness.
 
That afternoon, I began to think of the window to my own soul…and how dark I’ve been lately as I’ve cared for my aging father, traveling miles upon weary miles each week, to be with him. I thought of how sorry I’ve felt for myself as I’ve had to sacrifice my writing and progress on The John Lennon Series to do the very uncreative but necessary tasks that care-giving demands. I thought of how gloomy I’ve become as my life has taken an unexpected change.
 
Over the past year, without realizing it, I’ve become that isolated window drenched in shadow. Darkened.
 
But here’s the thing…unless you’re an inert window – placed forever in an alcove – admitting the sun is a choice. Paul McCartney knew that when he wrote another set of Beatles’ lyrics:
 
“Tomorrow may rain, so I’ll follow the sun.”
 
A lovely bit of poetry? Yes. But it’s more than that. In that closing words of that song, Paul was making a decision; he was consciously choosing to follow the sun. And whether we sing about it or not, we are also called to decide. Each day, we’re given the option to turn our faces to joy, hope, and happiness….or to turn away.
 
I don’t want to be an unlit window. I don’t want to chill others with my “hazy shade of winter.” I want to shine again. And Shine On. Do you?
 
Here comes the sun. It’s all right!
 
***Speaking of sun, Lanea Stagg’s e-book, Little Dog in the Sun is #1 on Amazon e-books today. Lanea has been part of the Fest family for several years, and her book is all about choosing to live in the sun…and to live life in joy after the death of a loved one. It’s a gorgeous children’s book that really represents what the Fest is all about. HEAD HERE to purchase a copy of Lanea’s book.
 
Jude Southerland Kessler
http://www.johnlennonseries.com

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We Remember George

November 29th – On this day in 2001, George Harrison passed. 12 years of reflecting on his singular legacy he left on this planet doesn’t make it much easier. Yes we do have his incredible music to put a smile on our faces, to make us think about the world, and how we fit into it, to improve the human condition, to improve ourselves, and to enjoy life more! That, in itself, is an enormous achievement. On that note, we make our yearly plea to those of you who still smoke cigarettes. Smoking leads to lung cancer and this is what took George from us. He didn’t know it in the 50s when he became a teenager. But now everybody know that cigarettes kill people – 1,200 every day, just in U.S.. That is more than 430,000 people every year. And it doesn’t just affect the smokers, but thousands die every year from second hand smoke. So for those of you who still smoke, we urge you, on this day we remember George, to finally give them up and mean it this year. You and your family and friends who love you will be thankful. Now let’s all go listen to George’s music today.

Peace and love.

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