Monday, November 19, 2007


In 1981, a slender music teacher with cotton-ball-white, spherical hair and briliant, red-rimmed glasses taught Clearwater Elementary School's first grade class the song "Simple Gifts." Her berry-red lipstick mouthed the words over and over again as her skirt draped over the piano bench and her determined fingers plunked the ivory keys. Thank you, Ms. Ray.

A simple song written by a Shaker in the 1800s. A song that has gone on to TV, movies, Broadway, universities and even on cellist Yo-Yo Ma's CD. Now it even includes two (more modern) verses.

It is a gift to be simple, to be small and to have such impact. Hope we all remember that this week.

'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free,
'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gain'd,
To bow and to bend we shan't be asham'd,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come round right.

'Tis the gift to be loved and that love to return,
'Tis the gift to be taught and a richer gift to learn,
And when we expect of o-thers what we try to live each day,
Then we'll all live together and we'll all learn to say,
'Tis the gift to have friends and a true friend to be,
'Tis the gift to think of others not to only think of "me",
And when we hear what others really think and really feel,
Then we'll all live together with a love that is real.

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