When I was 10, my parents took me to see Music Man, and it made a huge impression on me. My entertainment and exercise, in those days before we had a television (yes, we were slow adapters) was to roller skate around and around our basement floor in big sweeping circles, dodging the metal poles and singing loudly.
Before Music Man, the songs were all from Broadway shows; South Pacific was a big favorite. But with the advent of that handsome Professor Harold Hill I became a hopeless romantic -- or perhaps I should say, a hope-FULL romantic. Because my two favorite songs from the show were "My White Knight" ("What my heart could say, if it only knew how...") and the Wells Fargo Wagon ("Well it could be... something special... just for me!").
With music, the hunger in my heart for acceptance and recognition, for someone to "get" me, had found its voice, and I spent my days skating in endless circles howling out those songs, especially if one of the cute boys who cut our lawn was in the house to collect his money. But, looking at this picture, which I took on my journey down the Hood Canal last weekend, I see that at the heart of that longing lay my inability to connect with my mother. The expression on the face of that baby girl-- who is clearly not neglected, with her doll, her warm clothes and her pretty new boots -- of sheer longing for maternal attention tears at my heart. And there is the mother, staring resolutely ahead, lost in her own internal battles -- or so I project, as I look at this from the perspective of my own childhood.
Because that, of course, is how we all see: through the lenses of our own moods and experience, which color all the information we take in. Which is why a casual word from a friend can trigger a flood of recriminations; why a child's misstep can trigger frothing parental anger; why a troubled marriage can slowly dissolve, each partner unable to see past their own struggles to reach out to the tormented soul of the other.
How do your preconceptions color this picture? To me, the father, mother and son in this tableau all seem resigned to me; stoic, patient, waiting for the next stage in their lives. The good news is this: they're obviously waiting in the right place, and though the stagecoach may be late, it WILL come. Even the dog, who waits expectantly for the daily treat tossed to him by the driver, understands that it will eventually arrive.
Oho, the Wells Fargo Wagon is a-comin' now
I don't know how I can ever wait to see
It could be somethin' for someone who is no relation
But it could be
just for me!