Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Hi, Hi, Miss American Pie: Art, Cars and New Combinations


Elissa's newest fascination, her dream car, a Challenger. Her art work and various cars: Friend Bob Floyd's '65 Plymouth Belvedere. 1950s Chevy, harewood photography, flickr (because it's the icon of Don Maclean's "Bye,Bye Miss American Pie.") An antique yellow car in the Sylvania Memorial Day parade. Elissa's friend Scott Roberts checking his restored black 1950s Ford pickup. My brother's KIA (because I miss him, and I don't know a thing about cars).

My daughter Elissa is an inspiration. Her strengths are her glory: her imagination, her compassion, her faith. She’s the first to admit her "challenges." It's hard for her to get organized, she'll say;
to let go, to throw things away. She collects things, cuts words and pictures out of magazines, which she also collects, keeps stacks of
envelopes and found objects around, in case she wants to use them them for her art someday, and someday is coming soon.

She has many interests, and has recently added a new one.... CARS. Yep, my daughter is
interested in cars. First there’s her favorite, the Challenger, I think it’s called. It makes her heart flutter, she says. Then there are old cars, antique cars, classic cars, sprinting cars, racing cars, and the mechanics of
each of them. There are car shows, festivals, fairs, parades and races. There's a whole big world of cars and car lovers out there. It's huge! And I'm not talking NASCAR. These are folks who keep cars going, bring them back to life and keep them going. There's something to be said about that.

I always say you never know where life will take you if you take life as it comes. For Elissa, that's imagination, art, graphic design and now, cars. Well, that’s a new combination, a pretty fascinating combination!

For some reason, all this makes me think of Don Maclean's classic story-song about the 1950s and 1960s, "Bye, Bye Miss American Pie, drove my
chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry..." It's an American classic, like the cars Elissa has discovered as she goes 'round the circle of her life. The song, as we all know, if we know it, is about the music changing after Buddy Holly died, about life changing, about American culture changing. I guess change is what life's all about.

I can't resist copying the elegaic song, below. What a beauty, to read the words again, almost as beautiful as one of those new Dodge Challengers, or those old restored cars. The past can be brought back to life! The music is not dead.


Don MacLean, Bye Bye Miss American Pie
A long, long time ago. I can still remember
How that music used to make me smile.An' I knew if I had my chance,
That I could make those people dance.
And maybe they'd be happy for a while.
But February made me shiver,With every paper I'd deliver.
Bad news on the doorstep.
I couldn't take one more step.
I can't remember if I cried,
When I read about his widowed bride,
But something touched me deep inside,
The day the music died.

So, bye, bye, Miss American Pie.

Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry.
An' them good ol' boys were drinkin' whiskey and rye.
Singin' "This'll be the day that I die.
This'll be the day that I die."

Did you write the book of love?
And do you have faith in God above,
If the Bible tells you so?
Now do you believe in rock and roll?
Can music save your mortal soul?
And can you teach me how to dance real slow?
Well, I know that you're in love with him.
'Cause I saw you dancin' in the gym.
You both kicked off your shoes.
Man, I dig those rhythm and blues.
I was a lonely, teenage broncin' buck,
With a pink carnation and a pickup truck.
But I knew I was out of luck,
The day the music died.

I started singing, "Bye, bye, Miss American Pie."
Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry.
Them good ol' boys were drinking whiskey and rye."
Singing, "This'll be the day that I die.
This'll be the day that I die."

Now, for ten years we've been on our own.
And moss grows fat on a rolling stone.
But that's not how it used to be.
When the Jester sang for the King and Queen,
In a coat he borrowed from James Dean,
In a voice that came from you and me.
Oh, and while the King was looking down,
The Jester stol' his thorny crown.
The courtroom was adjourned,
No verdict was returned.
And while Lenin read a book on Marx,
The quartet practiced in the park.
And we sang dirges in the dark.
The day the music died.

We were singin', "Bye, bye, Miss American Pie."
Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry.
Them good ol' boys were drinking whiskey and rye.
Singing, "This'll be the day that I die.
This'll be the day that I die."

Helter skelter in a summer swelter,
The birds flew off with a fallout shelter.
Eight miles high and fallin' fast.
[ Find more Lyrics on http://mp3lyrics.org/No ]
It landed foul on the grass,
The players tried for a forward pass,
With the Jester on the sidelines in a cast.
Now the half-time air was sweet perfume,
While Sergeants played a marching tune,
We all got up to dance,
Oh, but we never got the chance.
'Cause the players tried to take the field,
The marching band refused to yield.
Do you recall what was revealed,
The day the music died?

We started singin' "Bye, bye, Miss American Pie."
Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry.
Them good ol' boys were drinking whiskey and rye.
Singing, "This'll be the day that I die.
This'll be the day that I die."

Oh, and there we were all in one place.
A generation lost in space,
With no time left to start again.
So come on Jack be nimble, Jack be quick.
Jack Flash sat on a candlestick.
'Cause fire is the devil's only friend.
Oh, and as I watched him on the stage,
My hands were clenched in fists of rage.
No angel born in hell,
Could break that Satan's spell.
And as the flames climbed high into the night,
To light the sacrificial rite,
I saw Satan laughing with delight,
The day the music died.

He was singing, "Bye, bye, Miss American Pie."
Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry.
Them good ol' boys were drinking whiskey and rye.
Singing, "This'll be the day that I die.
This'll be the day that I die."

I met a girl who sang the blues,
And I asked her for some happy news.
But she just smiled and turned away.
I went down to the sacred store,
Where I'd heard the music years before,
But the man there said the music wouldn't play.
And in the streets the children screamed.
The lovers cried, and the poets dreamed.
But not a word was spoken.
The church bells all were broken.
And the three men I admire most,
The Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost,
They caught the last train for the Coast.
The day the music died.

And they were singing, "Bye, bye, Miss American Pie."
Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry.
Them good ol' boys were drinking whiskey and rye.
Singing, "This'll be the day that I die.
This'll be the day that I die."

They were singing, "Bye, bye, Miss American Pie."
Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry.
Them good ol' boys were drinking whiskey and rye.
Singing, "This'll be the day that I die.
This'll be the day that I die."


[AMERICAN PIE]
[Written by: Don McLean
Performed by: Don McLean [1] -1971
Appears on: American Pie-1971, Solo-1976, Dominion-1983, Favorites and
Rarities-1992, The Very Best of Don McLean-1999, Amplified-2000, Sensational
'70s (Various Artists)-2005 [2] , et al.]

[1] Covered by: Hit Crew, Catch 22, Jive Bunny & the Mastermixers, Madonna,
Mott the Hoople, Slaughter, Nina Simone, The Starlite Singers, Tori Amos,
Global Deejays, Eric Carmen, Studio 99, Valerie, The Ventures, Who's That
Girl, et al.]

[2] Transcribed from the track on this album.]
Lyrics: Bye bye Miss American pie, Don MacLean

Note: There's a line by line analysis of the song at a Jerry's Jukebox: http://wilsar.com/jukebox.htm. Great reference, if you want to know what the words, images, allusions, metaphors, and symbolism are all about.
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