cartoon cow writing at a desk

Bread and Roses (11.17.17)

Dear Universe,

Thank you for helping the kids and I meet musicians Sam Gleaves & Tyler Hughes at the State Fair of Virginia in October. Thank you for leading us to their music. I know that musicians are God’s messengers. We appreciate listening to these Appalachian stories that are communicated through music. At first, the kids were raising their eyebrows and rolling their eyes at the new sounds they were experiencing. They tolerated me listening to the CD called “Sam Gleaves & Tyler Hughes” (©2017) whenever we got into the van. I sang along with gusto to “I Washed My Face in the Morning Dew” (written by Tom T. Hall, Unichappell Music, Inc.) which made me feel alive and empowered. I told the kids, “Wake up and get in touch with your Appalachian roots!” They laughed at me and rolled their eyes again.

One song in particular called “Bread and Roses” (James Oppenheim, ©1911; and Mimi Farina, ©1974) made all of us sit a little taller and listen more carefully. I asked the kids what they thought the song was about. Ashlee said that the song was about the Women’s March. Rachel said that it was about women being treated equally to men because of the reference to “bread.” “Wow! Great insight,” I said. I felt like the song was older and created to unify women and men, somehow. The most compelling words to me are, “For the rising of the women means the rising of the race” reverberate deep in my soul.

The kids went with me to vote on November 7, 2017 in our primary residence in the Commonwealth of Virginia. We were voting for our Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, and our State Delegate. A week before the election, I volunteered for the first time, while processing bronchitis, for the Virginia League of Conservation Voters to call and motivate people to get out and vote for this critical election. Every election is critical and many, many people take their right to vote for granted. Not me. Not ever. People suffered and died to give us the right to vote in elections to say, “This is what I want my government to look like, to act like, and to be like.”

My husband, our kids, and I entered the middle school where we have voted for years. Typically, the energy in the room is dead and boring. Not this year. I don’t know what happened to our voting precinct, but it was alive, fresh, and energetic! The lines were not long at all, however people were there to vote. When we first entered the gymnasium, we overheard a thunder of applause and people cheering, “First Time Voter!” I felt like I was at Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour back in the late 70’s where they just announced a free “Birthday Sundae.” We cast our votes, heard a few more “first time voter” cheers and then left the area feeling bright and energized. That’s what voting should be like!

My husband went to his next destination and I took the kids to our roofing business office. We were listening to the Sam Gleaves & Tyler Hughes CD. Once I parked the van, I said, “Let’s say a group prayer for the election.” I turned off the audio system to lead the prayer, but the music wouldn’t stop. The song “Bread and Roses” was playing and would not stop playing. I pushed every button that I could and the song kept playing. Finally, the kids and I smiled and looked at each other. We knew it was a sign from the Universe. I turned off the engine and the music stopped. We then said a prayer asking that the best people win the election to best represent the people in our Commonwealth and we fervently hoped that love would trump hate. Music speaks and so do the voters.