There is nothing like a song that matches your mood.
The unusually warm weeks had melted the mounds of snow and the ground was shades of brown and amber with a soupçon of green.
The air had the curiously charged, yet dull feel of an early-March-pre-snowstorm day in western New York.
I needed a lift and I found it in an old Jackson Browne album.
My sisters were – in the 1970s - my sisters - but I guess they were also hippies, hopeful for a better world.
I remember my sisters listening to the album in their bedrooms. The record would slip down the metal spindle of the stereo, the arm would glide toward the magical disc, and they would take a breath in anticipation. The blue cloth-covered case of this particular stereo smelled of patchouli and electricity, and it swept over my sisters as they sat cross legged on the braided rug.
Their long black hair, straight and smooth, swooped over their shoulder blades and swayed on their backs as they sang to this record. My oldest sister sang with strength and conviction, occasionally pumping the air for emphasis; my other sister, a year younger, more melodious, listening and matching the emotion in each song.
My sisters looked at each other, complicit in understanding, “just when I thought I would be strong enough after all, here come those tears…” Their chins would point toward the ceiling, “…again.”
But it was the song that followed that one about tears, the song that started, “Boy of mine…” that made my sisters’ voices reach out and fill my little-girl heart.
I watched as they nodded toward each other and smiled as they sang, “….take good care of your mother, and remember to be kind.” They liked that line, our mother seemed like the last person who would ever need to be cared for.
They would close their eyes at, “take good care of your brother…” our three brothers always seemed beyond needing our care. But they would fix their eyes on each other when Jackson closed this song with, “Take good care of each other….” It was understood that these sisters would always be there for each other.
Decades later, the heaviness of another era of youthful unrest upon us, the underlying menace of a snowstorm in the dull sky, I like to be reminded, “When the pain of another will serve you to remind That there are those who feel themselves exiled On whom good fortune never smiled And upon whose life the heartache has been piled…” that we should, indeed, take care of each other.