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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Me, Bobby, Kris...and Freedom

Recently VW wrote a post about freedom, using two lines taken from a Kris Kristofferson song, and he invited the rest of us to write our thoughts in our own posts. Now, I may not be an authority on freedom, or America…but Bobby, Kris and me, we go back a lot of years and a lot of road miles. I figure I’ve probably sung this song, oh, thirty-six-thousand, nine hundred and forty-twelve times, give or take a few. Most folks remember only the Janis Joplin version…and therein we have the misunderstanding of this song’s lyrics. I thought I could talk about how the lifting of two lines from a chorus was an excellent example of words being taken (with all good intent) and made into something other than what was intended by the writer, how words that were meant to teach can also be used disparagingly, and how different our perspectives can be. Freedom may look different from either side of the barbed wire or wall…or from the many facets within our understanding of language.

“Me and Bobby McGee,” is a story about a man hungrily looking for his freedom, somewhere just beyond the next bend, the next song. He’s even looking beyond a relationship he has with a woman, who loves him enough to ride that road of freedom’s servitude too. This is a story reflected in so many veterans. Kris was born a nomadic USAF brat, earned a Rhodes Scholarship and became an Army pilot, before songwriting pulled him onto the musical road.

Eventually, back in the song, Bobby makes the choice to reach for her dreams of home and family…

“…I let her slip away…she’s lookin’ for a home…and I hope she finds it…well, I’d trade all my tomorrows for one single yesterday…holding Bobby’s body next to mine…”

The storyteller still has the freedom he chose but comes to his epiphany with the chorus. Tell me if these two lines reach for a deeper conversation about the moving perception of freedom, now that you know what leads Kris to say…

“Freedom’s just another word for nuthin’ left to lose…nuthin’ ain’t worth nuthin…but it’s free…”

Kris Kristofferson is one of my muses for his rich storytelling and self-searching honesty. I too, felt pulled to walk in servitude on this road of music, self-exploration and yes, freedom. You see, in my herstory, the hero who saved freedom for the world…oppressed, abused and denied freedom to the family that was his to command. As Kahlil Gibran said, I unfettered myself from one thing…and fettered myself to something greater.

I cannot talk about freedom as an American, I can only speak of it as a human being. Our individual understanding of freedom, like everything else in the universe, is in constant movement. There’s a great freedom in allowing ourselves to be wrong sometimes, to make different choices. There’s a great freedom in submitting to our purpose. Experience has taught me that self-responsibility is not only my journey to freedom, it is the only way I may serve freedom’s movement in the world.

Sing us out, Kris…

“Feelin’ good was easy Lord, when Bobby sang the blues…feelin’ good was good enough for me…good enough for me and Bobby McGee”

8 comments:

Stephanie Frieze said...

Wonderful blog, Lorraine! Lovely to find out more about Kris as well as the song. ~Stephanie

Kim Thompson said...

Will you sing that song sometime for us???? Pretty please????

M. Sugimura said...

Goes to show we can learn something new everyday! Wonderful post. When you sing the song for us, why not put in on YouTube and then post it here?

JosephMcG said...

"Songwriting pulled him onto the musical road..." that sums up what freedom means to me... having the courage to follow your heart's call and following that call humbly and with determination is the greatest gift one can give to others
Joseph McG

EmeraldPrincessOnline said...

Great idea about posting to YouTube! Then the world can join in.

Love Janis Joplin's music...

Love Kris Kristofferson's music...

Love...love...love...

All we need is love...

The Beatles

And speaking of The Beatles...

What are your thoughts about the settlement of Paul McCartney's divorce from Heather Mills?

Lorraine Hart said...

Well...I know a little bit about the man people think is still the adorable mop-top...he could stand a little humility...and it might do his wallet some good to see the light of day. That having been said, I don't go for taking the money just because you got married...but there is a wee girl in all this who deserves everything.

Seeking freedom from my first marriage, I left with nothing...though I put the man through school, working nights and being with my baby boy in the day. It's not what I would advise young women to do today. As with everything, there's a balance to be struck between...to fairly assess financial parting.

Lorraine Hart said...

BTW...I forgot to say that the pic of Kris comes from the Wickipedia page...where did my manners go?

Guess how Kris got Johnny Cash's attention (remember Johnny sang "Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down") he landed his helicopter on Mr. Cash's lawn!

I was in the audience the night Kris brought this stunning woman, Rita Coolidge, onstage with him at Massey Hall in Toronto. She was supposed to have done a concert the night before...but it was cancelled because of poor ticket sales...no one knew of her then. It was an incredible night and the chemistry between them...ooh-la!

If you're wondering whatever happened to Rita Coolidge...check out "Walela"...it means Hummingbird in Cherokee...and is made up of Rita, her sister and her niece. Two thumbs up from Lorraine.

Lorraine Hart said...

Amen to what you said, Joseph...we just have to remember that every road has its toll-booths...the choices that don't cost...well, that's like a trip around the parking lot, eh?