A New Years Beatle Party!


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It’s a Beatle party. You’re invited!

That quiet snow on New Years Eve—calls to mind my brother in law: The Beatle. This week marks his birthday—he’s in his extremely late 50’s now. But still unquestionably a Beatle. So of course there is a party.

Where? Anywhere you are.

 C’mon in! The doors to the tent are thrown open in all directions. Just like on the Plains of Abraham.  So all are welcome. It’s the birthday of a Beatle.

 And if you step inside, it might prompt the thought that there is a Beatle in your life too.

In our collective human lifting of voices into one resounding song, some people are just Beatles. Maybe it’s just for a moment, for a week, a year or even a lifetime. A Beatle is a person who makes a difference. Their song sounds in ways that changes things. Beatles change other people’s worlds. The Beatle can capture the golden moments in even the most brutally tough years.

Beatles are often people you wouldn’t look twice at if they passed you on the street. Picture John, Paul, George and Ringo standing in the gray English rain on a street in Liverpool, all at age 10. Who knew they’d change the world?

Wendy’s Beatle grew up close to Liverpool. In Manchester. Felt that same English rain on his face.

 When Wendy first brought him home to our parent’s house, no one knew he was a Beatle but her.  He was the kind of longhaired, bearded, revolutionary spirit likely to storm the temples of complacency, preach something frighteningly radical and overturn the moneychanger’s tables. He stood at the counter in my parent’s kitchen, took a long swig of an ice-cold Lite beer and spit it on the floor, saying, “You really drink this stuff?”

 

This was long before he took me into my first English Pub, warmed in the glow of the fireplace, the laughter in the conversation, the cheese and sausage pub lunch, the beer that leaves you thinking, this just might be like wine to quench the thirst of every tomorrow I am ever blessed to have.

 

When your sister marries a Beatle. You get to be a Beatles’ brother. Which is nice.

 

At their wedding, which might have been 30 years or 30 seconds ago, throngs of longhaired English people filled our parents back yard bringing the very same warmth of an English Pub. Our Dad made his now very famous in the family quote, “I don’t feel like I’ve lost a daughter. I feel like I’ve gained a country!”

I got to play basketball with guys that did things like see Van Morrison sing down at the local pub for a dollar, and Wendy and her Beatle went off to make a life.

 As the years went by, the rest of us began to understand what Wendy already knew: this guy really was a Beatle.

 I could see it when I watched him write a song. He did this every week.

 Every week.

 

I got to see this more than once. Here’s how he’d do it. He’d start pacing around the room. Sometimes in circles. Faster and faster. As if any second he could careen off a wall like a silver rolling pin ball. He’d be muttering to himself. Every now and then he’d go look at this big book that always lay open on a table. Then he’d start pacing again.

 

I don’t remember the part where he wrote anything down. But I sure remember when he sang these songs. There would be two or more of us gathered, and Wendy’s Beatle would start off. No notes. He’d hold all who listened just with his words. And I knew it was him singing. I saw it. Those words coming from his mouth. But I also knew that what he was singing about was much bigger than anything he said.

 

See, that’s what a Beatle can do. A Beatle can lead you past what you see and bring you face to face with a mystery. Face to face with magic. With things you don’t really understand, with things you doubt.

 

Doubt. That essential element of faith. Singing songs of praise that don’t teach, preach, or sell—but instead reveal. A Beatle can do that. Sometimes with words, sometimes with actions. It depends on the Beatle. And the varieties of Beatles are infinite.

 

In fact, now that you’re thinking about it—doesn’t a Beatle from your life come to mind?

 

Wendy’s job, in her life’s travels with her Beatle, has always been, as the poet Mary Oliver wrote, “loving the world.”

 

Wendy’s Beatle sang songs of love. So that meant bringing in the rest of the world to sing along. John, Paul, George and Ringo did a lot of that too. They listened very hard to Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, Carl Perkins, even the Broadway songwriter Meredith Wilson, and then they carried on the song.

 Wendy’s Beatle did the same thing. He read from that big open book. He drew from the real life, everyday world around him, and then he put together all those love songs. And delivered them pretty near every week of his life.

 Now, all these years later, Wendy and her Beatle have two children and a daughter in law off in the wider world. Doing things like walking dusty roads in India looking to give comfort. And striding through hospitals in the U.K, looking to give care. Wendy and her Beatle now have a sparkling joyful granddaughter in Wales and a full throttle Skype connection to help connect them all.  

Beatles abound!

So, take a look around. You might see a Beatle too.

They’re the ones the ones who are speaking words of wisdom. And singing, let it be.

It’s a Beatle Party! You’re invited!

C’mon in and let it be.

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4 Responses to “A New Years Beatle Party!”

  1. toritto Says:

    Happy New Year Rog!!

    Regards.

  2. Paulhaider74 Says:

    Yes, it is true that when Neil Turton got married on Saturday, July 7, 1979 in New Jersey, he looked quite a bit like John Lennon on the cover of the Abbey Road album. Of course, John Lennon’s full beard had a shade of red in it. Roger, you would have to be my life’s Beatle who is closest to George Harrison: smarter and more soulful than Paul McCartney but less acerbic than John Lennon. By the way, I am also fortunate enough to have a wonderful brother-in-law in spite of the fact that he is a liar, uh, lawyer. Actually, he is a Philadelphia lawyer (Woody Guthrie song). I would love to hear one of Neil’s sermons when I am in New Jersey during this upcoming summer’s celebration of my 40th birthday in Asbury Park.

  3. C. Steinbrecher Says:

    I’ve been enjoying listening to you singing your magical songs of wisdom that teach, preach AND reveal…maybe not every week, but always treasures to discover when I get a minute to come seeking…you are my favorite Beatle!!

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