Heart of Gold


his will work best if you listen to

this music

while reading this entry.

When my big sister was 16, she could not walk past our mother's baby grand piano without plopping down and hammering out a quick rendition of Neil Young's Heart of Gold.

She'd pound out the steady bass register chords with her left hand and finger the melody/harmonica part with her right.

At 14, I grew weary. Of Heart of Gold.

My God.

Not Heart of Gold.


Give it a rest, already.

My sister is an ordained Disciples of Christ minister and heads up field education for Vanderbilt's Divinity School. She's tolerant, patient and accepting. Viki's a feminist lefty and wears it comfortably. She worries about little things. Like the health of the planet.

Or put another way, she walks the Earth conscious of her own autonomy as a child of God and all that He has made.

My sister, the servant. With a heart of gold.

Vik left home and Kansas for college in the fall of '73 and never looked back. My sense is my sister's heart of gold was being formed during those piano-pounding teenage years. She and I were and remain (...duh) only two years apart chronologically, but in temperament and attitude we may as well have been Nixon and McGovern.

Superman and Lex Luthor.

I played fast and loose with life. Viki followed the rules. And then made sure the rules were fair for all. She's naturally at ease with people. It's a skill I have had to work hard to perfect. Her default was others first. I'd look for an edge.

Viki, Mom and me (listing to port.)

Manhattan, Kansas, ca. 1960

She's always been tight with our Mom and about a year ago, Viki and her life partner made the selfless decision to sell their house in Lexington, Kentucky and buy a house in Nashville, with an attached, yet separate apartment for Mom.

Mom's 77 and still able-bodied enough to get around. And she does. Get around, I mean. Mom's story rates its own blog and that's coming soon.

Anyway, when Mom moved from Kansas to Nashville, I promised her and Vik I'd visit twice each year -- spring and fall. Just got back from one of those weekends.

In a couple of months, my big sister will officiate at my son's wedding. I did not have to encourage Scott to build a relationship with his Aunt Viki. He caught on early that she's pretty special. They have much in common.

It's these expressions I never give, that keep me searching for a heart of gold.

In life terms, I'm a Johnny-come-lately to this notion that maybe it's not all about me. Sometimes the lessons come hard. You spend your whole life chasing illusive peace of mind only to find it lies within.

Oz never did give nothin' to the Tin Man that he didn't already have.

This blog is an expression. Every prayer and meditation is an expression. Making things right is an expression.

Being of service is an expression.

I'm a precipice-approaching miner for a heart of gold. And if I can even come close to chiseling out one akin to my sister's, I will count myself fortunate.