Last week, I received a phone call from Oscar’s daughter, Alice. She was returning a call that I had made to her following my viewing of the JoAnn Young film Oscar Hammerstein II, Out Of My Dreams which aired last month on most PBS TV Stations. It was so good to hear from her again. Alice is a genuine and kind woman. She says what she thinks; she’s honest – which is a very refreshing quality. Our lovely chat concluded with the reminder that more than anything her dad wanted a peaceful world. I promised to acknowledge that desire with every Oscar-related event.
How do we achieve peace? Well, the root words of both peace and grace are “to agree.” So when thinking about peace, the terms of agreement are where I begin. What am I agreeing with? Early on as a child, I agreed with Oscar’s philosophy of peace and love. Why? Because his lyrics wed to Richard Rodger’s music made me happy. They still makes me happy. It makes everyone happy. Even if the songs are sad, they still make us happy because underlying the song’s message is a life-lesson to learn or a different perspective to consider.
I always feel healthier and happy when singing – especially the R&H Songbook. Sing-alongs are invigorating and joyful. Recently, a woman at one such event shared that she “had not had that much fun in decades!” Singing has all sorts of health benefits. However, when singing lyrics that are uplifting, poetic, and positive, the mental and physical effects become powerful and transforming.
In March of 2009, I spent my first night as a guest at Highland Farm B&B. At the time, I was struggling with a relationship problem. Conscious that I was singing in Oscar’s living room, I sat down at the piano and opened an R&H anthology. That was a thrill – not my playing – but rather singing in Oscar’s living room.
My goal was to let happiness win the struggle in my heart. I began to sing “Something Wonderful” from The King and I. Those words spoke to me very deeply. In fact, I felt that I couldn’t stop singing that song. I sang it over and over for 20 minutes and through that process, I felt the power of the lyrics take hold and transform my thought. When I finally concluded, I knew what to do. I had yielded to the inspiration of the lyric and felt the heaviness just lift away. I was able to move on with clarity and confidence and the struggle was over.
Alice told me once that when she was having a problem, she would talk to her dad about it. She said, “I don’t really remember what he said, but I just knew that everything would be better because he reassured me that it would be so.”
Oscar’s lyrics solve our problems and uplift our soul. “When the dog bites or the bee stings,” to paraphrase , “we can simply remember our favorite things and then we won’t feel so bad.” Oscar lyrics give us remedies for the ills that plague us. All we need to do is wholeheartedly agree with them. Then we’ll see and find something wonderful right there where the problem had been.
Recommendation: Youtube “Something Wonderful” and bask in its wisdom and might.