Sunday, February 21, 2010

A "GIRLYMAN "Fan Letter

Dear Ty, Doris and Nate,

I know you have lots of fans and I’m sure you get lots of fan letters. Much as I like writing, I’m not a fan letter writer myself. I’m not really sure why. Maybe because it reminds me too much of being like 8? And I’m nearly reaching that scary half-century mark in another couple years, so teen-age girl fan letters are not my style these days? But rarely has anyone’s music really, REALLY soaked into my soul the way yours has. In fact, in all honesty, the only other time in my life when I was in love with music this same way was my love affair with John Denver’s music as I was growing up. In fact, I quite possibly MIGHT have written him a fan letter when I WAS 8.

I “discovered” Girlyman a few years ago. My brother gave me a handful of copied cds that some girl had given him, and he passed on to me those he thought I would like. There were two in there, Little Star and Remember Who I am. Of all the cd’s he gave me, yours is the only one that “took,” and it took in a big way. I have listened until I have had to buy new cd’s, because I wore mine out. I literally listen to nothing else. I was finally able to attend a concert this past year, five hours away was the closest I could find at the time, and was pretty excited by that. I listen at home, I listen at work when I have a free period, I listen in the car. I sing along when no one else is listening to me. I wake up with GM songs spinning through my head every morning. I go to sleep with your music. I get up to let the dogs out at 2 am and “everything’s easy” or “Viola” or “Montpelier is eight miles away” words play in my head while I wait by the door in the cold for them to come back in from the back yard. Your music is the soundtrack by which I live my life. Not a big deal, particularly, I guess. I’m sure there are others who could say the same. But the past three weeks, your music, and the constancy of it, and the words and images to some of your music, have really felt like a life-line thrown my way. While I don’t want to be overly dramatic, I can’t tell you how many times I have thought: “I don’t know what I would have done without Girlyman and their music right now.” I really don’t.

My dad, who is 89, and who has lived alone since my mom died of Alzheimers five years ago, just had a heart attack three weeks ago. The hospitalization actually revealed far more than heart trouble; we were not aware of the extent to which dementia has overtaken him, particularly after dark. Sundowning, they call it.Because I live in a very rural area, his hospitalization for surgery, and now his subsequent cardiac rehab put him nearly two hours away from me. So, I spent a week driving back and forth, and now, while we await a determination about where he will live after rehab is finished, I am trying to go up twice a week, at least. So, given the amount of time I have been spending in the car lately, you can imagine the amount of playing time you guys are getting! Because I am traveling back and forth alone, and because I have a really awesome stereo system in my Jeep and because this situation has been pretty stressful for me, I have been putting on either my New Hope Winery concert double cd, or the Everything’s Easy cd and just cranking them until the music just fills the car, and fills me, and it also blocks everything else out.

The heart attack was mild. The surgery was not a particularly big deal. But this is my DAD. My mom is gone, and I am the youngest child in a family with siblings that are not all particularly close, and suddenly, I am face to face with my dad’s mortality and the limited time he has left to be my dad. And with the dementia, and the new, changed living arrangements, have come his nightly phone calls to me, demanding that I come get him, telling me he HAS to go home tomorrow, that he can’t stay there another day, that if I don’t come get him, he will hitchhike home, saying I’m being mean to him, that I don’t love him, that I have just stuck him there, yelling at me, swearing at me, even. Now, this is man who was the son of a very straight-laced, strict, preacher, and has not been a man to drink, smoke, dance, play cards, or heaven forbid, use “bad language” (I remember the first time I ever said “shit” in my life – I was in 7th grade, and went to the basement to say it, over and over, just to see what it felt like! I wasn’t even allowed to say “fart” or “turd” back then. Oh, for those days. I guess the only good thing about it is, now when I drop an F bomb, it really MEANS something to me! J ) Now he is swearing at me, telling me “GodDAMNit, I AM going home.” Wow. A little tough.

I joke, but the phone calls have been devastating. Knowing that my dad is not going to be able to go home to the house he has lived in for nearly 70 years, and feeling like that is somehow my fault, knowing that he sometimes feels like I have abandoned him, that he thinks I don’t love him – I KNOW that is the dementia talking, not really my dad, but, well, this is hard. Very hard. And it isn’t over yet, not by a long shot. It’s only going to get worse. And so, as I did with my mother when she started developing alzheimers years before she died, I realize that I have started saying good-bye to my dad. I am grieving the loss of the man who raised me and took care of me and loved me unconditionally for so many years. And, while I didn’t mean to go on and on, what I just want to say, my whole reason for writing, is just to let you know that Girlyman is making this sucky time in my life a little better, a little more bearable. It’s been a lousy time, but I’m “not quite lost, not quite found, just somewhere different now…I’m not burned out, not used up, just somewhere different now.” Also, the time alone in the car has given me a LOT of time to reflect on old relationships – the good, the bad, and the ugly, and even the best of them. Thinking back on some of them has also, thanks to you, provided a lot of smiles in my travels. Like I said, you’ve simply become the soundtrack for my life- past, present and, god willing, my future as well. I have not had music get inside me, inside my head, inside my mind, inside my heart, like you guys have done, since I was a kid. It means SO much to me. I feel like words are just so inadequate from me to describe what your music, your lives, mean to me.

Thank you for using the talent God gave all three of you to make the most beautiful music on earth. Each of you has a unique voice, a unique sound, on your own, and to me, the most amazing sound of all when combined. I love how some songs feature Ty, some Doris, and some Nate. I love all THREE of your voices, individually. I love the lyrics, the thoughts behind them, the catchiness to some, and the meanings and seriousness of others. You guys are just super talented at writing lyrics, as well as music, and it all equals a sound that is unmatched, in my world. Thank god for Girlyman. At the best of times, you are just perfection to listen to. At the worst of times, your music has been the lifeline thrown, just in time, to help me rescue myself!

See you in Syracuse in March. Only two weeks - can’t wait. I only have to drive 3 hours for that one. :)

Check out, and click on the "have a listen" to hear some of their music.  I'm betting you won't regret it. I really can't imagine ANYONE not liking the sound.


Callie said...

I hope you actually send this letter to Girlyman and not just have it stay in your blog. It is a beautiful letter!

I am very glad that their music has eased this time in your life as I am sure they would be glad to know.

I hope your family will come together to make your Dad's and everyone's life easier. I don't want to see all the responsibility fall on you.

Fawn said...

Oh man. I went and clicked the link. And now I'm downloading their latest album. I'm not sure whether to be indignant or grateful. Um, grateful. Definitely grateful. :)

Kimberlee said...

Never heard of Girlyman, but you've definitely made me curious. I was (am?) a big John Denver fan too. My favorite album was Windsong. I actually had dreams of meeting him and telling him how wonderful he was....SO CORNY! Okay, I was a kid, right? Thanks for the heads up about Girlyman!