They say “never look back” but that is not sound advice in all instances. One of the greatest things I’ve ever done has been to look back on life through the lenses of my great grandmother, Pearl. In the Songumentary, I did my best to honor Pearl’s image and persona but it wasn’t until I placed the prop cat-eyed glasses upon my nose that something came springing back to life, and in turn, it has changed my life.
If you think about it, whether or not you want to, you live a good portion of your life seeing the world around you through the lenses of your parents’ perception of things. After all, their every word, gesture, behavior, mood, and attitude shaped your view of the world. But there comes a time when you can choose, and should choose the lenses through which you view life.
Looking back, it seems Pearl saw life as one big abundant party! Not that every moment of life was a privileged joyride for her - not in the least. She was one of the most daring pioneer women I’ve ever studied, birthing 11 children, burying one, and somehow forging her way through both the dust bowl and the great depression. She has a set perseverance in her eyes you can see in some of the pictures of that era. When it was all said and done, she came out a gleaming, bursting at the seams, socialite who loved to throw a small town soiree for family and friends. This is the way I remember her.
My time with Pearl began in the early seventies and ran until her death in 1978. She was exuberant, extravagant, and well, a little loud. She laughed with an ironic hardy giggle that could only come from the bosom of a woman too strong to quit but surprisingly still too naive and uncultured to fully own what all she'd actually conquered. She wore white gloves and fashionable hats. She had gold perfume atomizers and brushes on gold-plated mirrored trays in her bathrooms. She wore heavily bejeweled, clip-on earrings and cat-eyed glasses. She was a sight to behold.
I made a declaration this week. I’m choosing to see life through her lenses from here on out. I will set my eyes on the goal and task at hand in the difficult times and I will spearhead the celebration in the good times. There is no wiser choice than to live life this way. And for this newly enlivened perspective, I will forever be grateful for and celebrate Pearl!
On Christmas Eve, I will be releasing the Christmas song from the twelve song story album about my wild and wonderful Texas cattle ranching family. The song is called “Pearl” and tells the story of our first Texas generation mother and matriarch. This song features the voices of the "Lil Cluck Choir" made up of sixth generation Cluck kids. These are Pearl’s great, great, great, grandchildren! The kids sing along with me as I teach them one of Pearl's "funny little sayings nobody understood" - the meaning of which will be revealed in this blog series.