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Columns

August 8, 2012

A song for the ages

Ada —  

Hey Jude, don’t make it bad

Take a sad song and make it better

Remember to let her into your heart

Then you can start to make it better

— The Beatles

 

I watched part of the opening ceremonies of the London Summer Olympics: the End.  Sir Paul McCartney at 70 years of age, ever the consummate performer, performed “Hey, Jude” to a thrilled crowd.

He got the audience involved.  They were singing along at his invitation and then he said “Just the boys now” and then “Just the girls.”  Finally he said, “And now, together.” 

I have to admit my heart was soaring at the joy of it as I saw (and heard) boys and girls from all over the world, of every color, singing along.

I was surprised that he split the group by sex.  I don’t know why I was surprised.  It is a natural thing to do.  It is a quick way to divide any sufficiently large random group approximately in half, but there is more to it than that.  The male and female voices have different qualities.  Separate, they are each pleasant in their own right, but brought together something that is more than the sum of the separate parts emerges.

Much less happily, I was reading the other day about the shooting in Aurora, Colo. There was a story online wherein the writer was expressing surprise that some of the men were protecting their wives and girlfriends. Some had even given their lives.

On the day I married Jean, I was as nervous as I’d ever been in my life. I waited for her at the front of the church and my hands were as cold as ice.  I stood there as the pastor gave a little homily before the vows. There was the usual part about being poor and sick, but he also mentioned something that I’d never thought of until that time.  As a husband, it was my job to protect my wife and family and to give my life for them if necessary.

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