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Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit


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Seventy-Six Trombones Led the Big Parade!

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

One of the privileges of parenting is to cheer for one’s children in their various school musicals.  Our boys’ school for eight years was British Columbia Christian Academy (BCCA) in Port Coquitlam. As well as having great academics and strong family values, BCCA  has become well known for its strong drama and music programs.

My three boys were blessed to be involved in several memorable BCCA productions, including Fiddler on the Roof, Annie, and now The Music Man.  My youngest son Andrew had a lot of fun shaving his hair off for his role as Daddy Warbucks,  and the next year became Professor Harold Hill of Music Man fame.  While putting on a school play is a tremendous amount of work (and driving for the parents!), it is an invaluable way to build school spirit and teamwork.

As I carpooled Andrew each morning to school, I listened to Andrew/Professor Harold Hill sing his heart out.  The Music Man has so many unforgettable songs that it’s hard to single any out. “Seventy-Six Trombones” is my favorite, but there are many more: “Gary, Indiana”, “Wells Fargo Wagon”, and “Trouble” are all remarkably gripping.  Paul McCartney and the Beatles enjoyed The Music Man so much that they even recorded one of The Music Man’s hit songs “Till There Was You”.

The original title for the play was “The Silver Triangle.”  The earliest version of “The Music Man” included a young, spastic boy. Willson’s advisors thought it would be best to eliminate the spastic boy from the story, so Willson decided to change the spastic boy into the younger brother of Marian Paroo and have him lisp. The musical “The Music Man” opened on Broadway on Dec. 19, 1957, at the Majestic Theatre and ran for 1,375 performances.  The show became not only a hit but a happening, squeezing out the season’s other Broadway classic, Westside Story, for the Tony ‘Best Musical’ award.

During the 1940’s a relatively unknown musician named Meredith Willson kept fiddling with a musical story about his boyhood in Mason City, Iowa. As a young person, Willson had started off, playing the flute in his town band, before ending up with the John Philip Sousa Band, and then the New York Philharmonic, where he served under Toscanini and Stravinsky.

It took Meredith Willson eight years, forty songs, and thirty revisions to birth one of the world’s most well-loved musicals.   The Music Man is one of those very unusual Broadway hits where one person single-handedly produced the book, music and lyrics. Meredith Willson was also famous for “The Unsinkable Molly Brown”(1964) about the Titanic.

The gist of the ‘Music Man’ story, for those of you who have never seen it, is that Professor Harold Hill, a traveling salesman and con artist talks an unsuspecting Iowa small town into putting out hard, cold cash for band instruments and uniforms, as a solution to a civic frenzy drummed up by Harold Hill over the town’s new pool hall. “Remember, my friends, what a handful of trumpet players did to the famous, fabled walls of Jericho. Oh, billiard parlor walls come a-tumblin’ down.”

There are few things more captivating to many parents than the gentle form of flattery that suggests our children have some previously undetected musical genius.

In the process of wooing and sidelining the town’s librarian Marian Paroo, Harold Hill himself faces the depth of his own deception, and his longing to be a real-live band leader.  The romance between Harold Hill and Marian Paroo is much like an irresistible force meeting an immovable object.  Like any good salesman, the one thing that Harold Hill could not resist was a challenge.  Whether it was the challenge of selling band instruments to hard-nosed Iowans or romancing a confirmed bachelorette like Marian, Harold jumped in with both feet.

Harold Hill discovered that behind this brusque, off-putting librarian is a passionate heart with standards so high that make her unobtainable: “All I want”, sang Marian Paroo,” is a plain man, all I want is a modest man, a quiet man, a gentle man, a straightforward and honest man…I would like him to be more interested in me than he is in himself…”

Marian’s mother Mrs. Paroo challenged Marian on her ‘paralysis of analysis’ regarding men: “I know all about your standards and if you don’t mind my sayin’ so, there’s not a man alive who could hope to measure up to that blend’a Paul Bunyan, Saint Pat and Noah Webster you’ve got concocted for yourself outta your Irish imagination, your Iowa stubbornness, and your liberry fulla’ books.”

What The Music Man musical proves to me isthat love conquers all.  Love conquered the ‘conman’ Harold Hill so that he ended up staying and literally facing the music.  Love conquered Marian Paroo’s impossible standards so that she actually opened up her heart to a member of the opposite sex.  Love can conquer all, even your and my hearts.  But unless we open up our hearts, Love can never break in.

If The Music Man ever come to your area, I encourage you to not miss out on the time of your life, seventy-six trombones later.

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada V4A 0A5.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $9.99 CDN/USD.

 -Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 


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Thank God for Mothers-in-Law

By Rev. Ed Hird

How often do we celebrate the gift of our mothers-in-law?  Marriage counselors tell us that there are three primary areas of stress in marriages: money, marital intimacy, and in-laws.  Mother-in-law jokes tend to express the ambivalent nature of this most important relationship.  I would like to state uncategorically that I have been blessed with the gift of the mother-in-law that God gave me. It has been eighteen years now since Vera went home to heaven in 2,000, but her impact is still deeply felt.

My mother-in-law found me before my wife did.  By God-incidence, we met each other at a 1974 weekend conference.  She was quite impressed with me, despite my 1970’s longish hair and embroidered overalls.  My mother-in-law really enjoyed the movie ‘Fiddler on the Roof’, and could sing ‘Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match’ by heart.  Unfortunately, when my future mother-law/matchmatcher commended me to my future wife, the assessment was not mutual.  My wife and I had been in the same High School for Grade 12.  We all know what familiarity can breed.  My wife did remember however that even in Grade 12, I had nice eyes.

Vera and David 1944When I reconnected with my future wife at UBC in 1975, I also rediscovered my future mother-in-law.  I was most impressed by the warm hospitality that I always felt in my future mother-in-law’s home.  Some people make you feel stressed by how they fuss over you as a guest.  With my mother-in-law, it all felt very natural and relaxed.  She had that gift of making one feel right at home.

When I lost my voice for 18 months back in 1980, my mother-in-law was one of the people who stood with me in practical and prayerful ways.  She introduced me to the Order of St. Luke the Physician where I learned how to combine the dual benefits of medicine and prayer.  When I am tempted to be cynical about the power of prayer, I think of my mother-in-law who never gave up praying for seemingly hopeless situations.  Once when my wife’s sister was running from the Lord, my mother-in-law recruited people from all around the world to pray without ceasing for her daughter.  As a result of that passionate prayer, the prodigal daughter ‘returned home’ and became a Christ-like example to other seekers.  My mother-in-law symbolizes the call to ‘never, never give up.’

“Like mother, like daughter” goes the familiar saying.  Forty-one years into my marriage, I am now more aware than ever how much a mother influences her daughter.  I have counseled various women whose experiences with their mothers have left them emotionally crippled and unable to share love.  I give thanks to God that my mother-in-law raised my wife in an atmosphere of love and caring.  I know that without that foundational nurturing, my last 41 years of marriage would have been a very different experience indeed.  I am grateful to be married to a loving wife and mother who learned mother-love from someone who really cares.

Vera and David 1945My mother-in-law has had some real setbacks in her life over the years, but she never let it defeat her.  She always bounced back.  Family and faith mean the world to her.  Day in and day out, she was always looking for ways to comfort and encourage other people, both young and old.  Even on her hospital bed near the end of her life, she was still counselling people.   Rather than moaning about her own problems, she was remarkably other-centered, truly loving her neighbours as herself in a very Christ-like way.

One of her greatest contributions in my life has been her encouraging my involvement in the Christian Ashram retreat movement.  For 36 years now, I have attended the BC Christian Ashram each summer spending time learning how to be a healthier and more whole person.  I can honestly say that the renewal that I have experienced in the 40 Christian Ashram retreats that I have attended have made me more peaceful, more forgiving, and more restful.  I would commend this upcoming BC Christian Ashram Retreat  to anyone who is really seeking.

What more can I say except ‘thank you’ for my irreplaceable mother-in-law?  My prayer for those married couples reading this article is that we will take time to express our gratitude to our mothers-in-law.  Life is shorter than we think.

The Reverend Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada V4A 0A5.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, 102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada V4A 0A5.

. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.