Jillian’s song

Jillian’s song


In my day job as a sports columnist for the Cincinnati Enquirer, I author a Monday through Thursday blog called The Morning Line. It’s a mish-mash of sports, culture and personal asides. I conclude each post with a Tune O’ The Day, most often taken from my memory-bank of ’60s and ’70s rock.

This tune isn’t that.

It’s a song written by the country twanger Guy Clark. It’s performed here by country gal Patty Griffin. I put it on TML today.

It’s called The Cape, and it tells the story of a dreamer who never stops striving. Who sees all his dreams as manageable. Who isn’t afraid to follow them to their appointed ends. Do or die.

It makes me cry every time I hear it, and I’ve heard it hundreds of times.

It’s Jillian. She is fearless and hopeful, always. This might be the part of her personality that has served her best. Jillian has never not tried. She wanted to be a member of the JV Dance Team in high school, the young ladies who entertain at halftime of basketball games. Because we let Jillian define herself — same as her “typical” brother — we said OK.

We asked the coach. Her immediate response was, “That’d be great. Jillian can cue the music for us.”

Uh, no.

Kerry got the music the team would use, and a video from the previous year’s routine. She gave it to Jillian.

For a month before tryouts, Jillian stood in our basement in front of a full-length mirror and practiced the routine. If I ever again hear the Run/DMC and Aerosmith version of Walk This Way, I will become an official member of the Barry Manilow fan club.

Jillian made the team.

There are lots of stories about her like that one. Her disability was never a reason not to try things.

Even marriage.

We say we “love” lots of songs. Usually, that’s an overstatement, even for those of us who count music among life’s essential joys. Music is a friend, a lover and a time machine. Music makes us feel good. And sad, even as we sometimes enjoy that sadness. You know what I’m talking about.

I love The Cape.

Take a listen, and see if it doesn’t describe your child and, possibly, a reason you love him or her so much.

He did not know he could not fly/

And so he did.

Here it is. 

Thanks for reading. As always,

Expect. Don’t Accept.


2 thoughts on “Jillian’s song

  1. Thanks for posting this great tune and I join you in mourning the loss of this great station that surely expanded my musical awareness.
    I have been teaching, for close to 20, years kids who may not be developing according to a typical trajectory but never the less aim for big things. The motto written on the wall outside my class room says ” Every day holds the possibility of a miracle”. Now that miracle may look very different each day and may be as small as pointing to the right answer or reading that hard book by yourself. Or being allowed by the other kids to play kickball and not be forever stuck in the outfield.
    Your work as an advocate and courageous dad is inspiring to me and to many others. Thanks.

    1. So well stated, Ann, and thank you so very much for what you do. Sorry for the belated response. Best, Paul

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