Notes from Jan

On an Ipswich Hillside

September 2, 2023

If you love music and generations singing and playing instruments, you needed to be at #4 Jeffrey’s Neck Road for Chad and Kristina’s Backporch Jamboree last night. Professional musicians and lovers of music planted themselves on the hillside that rose just beyond the back porch. The porch’s high vaulted ceiling and open sides create a perfect stage.

The invitation read,” Friday September 1st from 5:00 UNTIL.” But even before 5:00, beach chairs, blankets, picnic fare sprouted like flowers on the hillside, while children ran free, eager to play, and not just instruments. Meanwhile, Jerry and Chad hauled wood to the fire pit. Later, under a full moon, we’d roast marshmallows, make s’mores and savor the waning days of summertime.

Music matters. So do hillsides. If I close my eyes I see Julie Andrews twirling around singing “The hills are alive with the sound of music.” And a hill was alive last night with groups and single acts. For example, Poco, age twelve, plaintively sang Dolly Parton’s song, “Jolene.” I don’t think Poco’s ever had a serious crush, much less be desperate to hang onto “her man.” But she delivered a heart-wrenching plea to Jolene.

Well, this was not a church singalong. And besides, only God knows why we connect with certain songs. Besides, it never hurts to remember that everyone singing and listening has a story to tell that could soften and illumine how we see each other . And perhaps nudge us to dispense more grace, less judgment. I think Jesus found a place on that hill and enjoyed music and joy blanketing a neighborhood.

And this morning I found myself thinking about another place and time. Young and old gathered on a hillside ,hungry for something. The story’s found in Matthew 5 in the Bible. It tells when Jesus struck a chord that even folks who couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket could sing. The new key of B for blessed. Blessed? Yes, in radical ways.

And they were and we are blessed with voices to sing, ears to hear, and hands to play instruments. Then, add blessed minds and hearts to learn and appreciate. So on a perfect evening on September 1st, a hillside in Ipswich came alive. And I felt so blessed. Yet, kinda curious to look into this Jolene.

But I’ll probably start with Poco.

Blessed are the curious.

I hope.

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  • Reply Maggie Rowe September 4, 2023 at 12:53 pm

    Oh how I would have enjoyed that Backporch Jamboree! I would have loved to hear Poco sing Jolene, and to see the smile on your face as she put her young little heart into it. You have a fun family, Jan. Why am I not surprised?

    • Reply Jan Carlberg September 5, 2023 at 7:46 am

      Fun, not perfect, as a snippet in time might suggest. But we do love to get together. And that alone leaves us open to God showing up and nudging us to consider paths and pursuits we might resist if left alone. Blessings on your family dear Maggie, and the paths and pursuits God offers this day.

  • Reply Wendy Lane September 20, 2023 at 5:39 pm

    So fun! I love it!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg September 21, 2023 at 4:39 pm

      It was a fun time, dear Wendy. We have to grab those times and hold onto each other and sing along, whether we know the songs or not. It’s all in the attitude. OR I hope so, at least.

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