Showing posts with label poverty. Show all posts
Showing posts with label poverty. Show all posts

Sunday, February 17, 2019

A Country Song About Homelessness - A Moving Reflection in Words

A moving empathic country song about homeless
Somebody's Daughter by Tenille Townes - A Song Review

I love the rasp and uplifting ache in Tenille Townes voice as she sings this song. The story and lyrics paint a clear picture of a person whose life wasn't easy. It reminds us that, except for our circumstances, we're all the same.

This country song is about homelessness. It's about those moments we pass by someone at an intersection holding up a cardboard sign asking for money, for help.
"Oh I don't know the reasons why I'm the one whose driving by and she's the one on the corner of 18th street...bet she was somebody's best friend, back when she was somebody's sister counting change at the lemonade stand"
This mid tempo song will touch your soul.


I remember first hearing it on the radio in my kitchen, and because I wasn't listening very closely to the lyrics, the song passed me by without a notice. For me, ninety-nine percent of the time, it's the story first the music second.

The next time I heard the song I happened to be driving. It's then I took the time to listen to the story behind the words.

The Inspiration Behind Tenille Townes Writing This Song

The tune was inspired during a drive Tenille Townes took with her mom while in Nashville, Tennessee. They saw a homeless person standing with a sign and began wondering out loud about this person's life story. Personally I've wondered the same myself. I suspect that's the reason this song touched me so deeply.
The song reminds us that "she was somebody's best friend, somebody's first kiss, somebody's daughter".
What do We Do When We See Someone Standing With a Cardboard Sign Asking for Help?

Many times I've handed out a bit of money. People have said to me, "oh that's a con, they're lazy, they're not deserving". Well I'm sorry, but the onus is not on me to prove their truth. The recipient has to deal with the truth of the situation. I'm not prepared to conclude that every single soul who does this isn't being honest. I believe most are truly suffering. I would rather be kind than be judgemental about that situation, but that's me. I just give, you never know who you've helped.

Who is Tenille Townes

Tenille Townes is a rising Canadian Country Music Artist from Grand Prairie, Alberta, Canada. In 2011 she was nominated at 17 years old for Canadian Country Music Female Artist of the Year. Her career is off and running. In 2018 she opened for Miranda Lambert and Little Big Town on The Bandwagon Tour. 

Her Grand Ole Opry Debut

She's also recently enjoyed the honor of performing at the Grand Ole Opry. That was a big deal for her family and friends! Watch and listen to Tenille Townes in her own words describe her amazing experience. She's a class act.



Big Hearts for Big Kids - Her Cause
In over nine years, she's raised $1.5+ million dollars for Sunrise House, a shelter for homeless youth in Alberta Canada. A cause she generously dedicates her time and name to.

Here's a brief video on her 2018 Fundraiser, Big Hearts for Big Kids:



Homelessness - The Stats and Where to Learn More 

It's roughly estimated that between 150,000 and 300,000 people in Canada are homeless at some given time. In 2017 approximately 5 million people in Canada lived in poverty. Canadians can learn more about homelessness and what can be done here at The Homeless Hub.

According to the Voa.org, in the United States in 2017 approximately 553,000 Americans were homeless on a given night, 40 million struggled with hunger and 40.6 million officially lived in poverty. The US population is approximately 325 million. To learn more about poverty in the USA and how you can help, visit the Voa.org/homeless-people.

"I believe those who suffer the most teach us the most" - by me
The Heart of Country Music








Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Ma, He Sold Me for a Few Cigarettes ~ A Book Review

Ma, He Sold Me for a Few Cigarettes Book Review
This book came into my hands quite by accident!  We (the grandpa and I) had been babysitting our lovely little ones for the weekend.  My son an avid reader left for the weekend with the heads-up that there was a pile of books on his desk and to help myself.

Ma, He Sold Me for a Few Cigarettes, by Martha Long would not have been a book that I would have purchased for myself. I am more of a mystery book, suspense book reader.  But the title of this particular book intrigued me.  It is an autobiography, one that is very difficult to read, both for the content and the language idioms it is written in.

The Authors note inside the front cover sealed the deal.  She writes, "This is a true story of my early childhood.  Originally, I did not write it for publication.  Instead, my intention was to rid myself  of the voice of the little girl I had once been."

So what made me pick up this book from the stack of many others?

All I can say is I picked it up, read the Acknowledgements and moved onto the Author's Note.  It was that note quoted above that sealed the deal.  I knew I was going to read it and see where it took me.

Written in the vernacular language of the Irish slums, it really is hard to get used to the cadence of the writing. But and this is a big BUT, it is a necessary evil along with all the swearing and blunt realities of this child's world.
  

An In-depth Look at "Ma, He Sold Me for a Few Cigarettes" 


There are parts of this book that will make you laugh and parts that will make you cry. The realities are something that we (middle-class people) would have a hard time wrapping our heads around.  What is evident is the character strength of this young girl.  Her mother (I give her that title only because she bore Martha) is a young girl herself, who hasn't fully developed her own character or had much opportunity to develop her mind.  She is at the whim of any man who will pay her some attention.  She is a teen with a baby.  Her family can't help her and she can't seem to help herself.  Her own self-worth seems to be wrapped up and dependent on having a man in her life.  Any man will do, she's not fussy. Before long she has two children and hooks up with yet another man, who preys on her and her children.   She finds herself pregnant again, Martha is only 5 years old and already taking care of her brother and more. "Jackster" the "father-figure" and I use that term very loosely too, beats up on the mom and Martha.  He is a drunkard, down on his "luck" and totally abusive when life doesn't go according to his plan.

This story is one that will leave you shaking your head at the brutality and yet admiring the strength of character in this little girl. Things go from bad to worse, she's angry with God, she's angry with her mom, she's angry with Jackster.  She is very angry at the whole world.  Yet through all this anger, she comes to be the strongest one.  She sees with eyes that are so much more mature than her years.

This book is a reality I had known nothing about and had a hard time understanding.  I was fortunate to grow up in a country that made it easy for my parents to look after us.  There were jobs and work for anyone who wanted to earn their way through life. There was also a moral compass, there were lines that would not be crossed.  Not so much in Martha's life, with poverty and no drive to make life better, the moral compass goes out the window.  Anything and everything in life is negotiable, for a few slices of bread or a few cigarettes.

So many people today, are still in the midst of the same downward spiral of  what life must have been like for Martha in Ireland.  There are those in places that are being destroyed by factions that want power over the people at any cost.  This book made me pause and think about all the young girls in the world. The girls in Africa and India, where they are married at 7 or 8 years of age.  They will endure the same bonds that held Martha captive for so long. We are not a better world today than the world Martha lived in back in the 50's.

"Slum City" Picture courtesy of Pixabay.com:https://pixabay.com/en/street-scene-slum-city-apartment-19941/



At the end of the day,

I'm really glad that this book grabbed my attention.  It is an emotional rollercoaster ride that will take you out of your comfort zone many times.  Martha Long in trying to get that little girl out of her mind, has opened up a window to a world that I never knew existed.  For that,  I would like to thank her.  I'm sure that it was not an easy book to write and I pray that she has found some peace.  

This book gave me reasons to be Thankful for where I live, for food, friends, and family that protect and hold me dear. It makes me stop and realize that not everyone is so blessed and that I have every need to be totally Thankful for all the blessings I have in my life.


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


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