I can't tell you how many articles I've read in the past several months of varying topics from unemployment numbers to inflation to consumer spending and the like. And almost without fail, somewhere in those articles will be a phrase similar to, "yet not Depression era numbers ... yet." Dire economic forecasts, wars, downward spirals, rising costs, unrest. Truly ... one wonders if the world as we know it is coming to a close.
This morning as I dashed down to Starbucks to contribute my little portion toward stimulating the consumer spending models -- I shivered as the sleet -- sometimes snow, sometimes rain pelted my windshield. Greatly anticipating that steaming latte as it would not only warm my throat but my gloveless hands as well.
And I was making lists in my head for the day and thinking of the news headlines I had just heard. And I was wondering if the snow would really return and blanket our yard ... and I wondered what was happening in Libya and where the unrest would spread to next. So I flipped on the radio.
Sounds of the 40's filled my car. My son has a fascination with the 1940's and he had been listening to Sirius XM's 40 on 4 with earphones yesterday.
And as my fingers reached toward the dial, a simple and pure melody filled the interior of my car. It was ... happy ... it was uplifting and positive. And so I stopped my mental meanderings for just a moment and let the sounds of yesterday fill my heart and my mind.
And all of those articles from the past several months came rushing to mind. The ones that predicted dire consequences to our way of life, yet not at depression era proportions.
The Great Depression was a worldwide economic crisis that saw American stock prices plunge 89 percent. This era was marked by soaring unemployment numbers, more than 20 percent, the collapse of export markets and food prices. An era marked by years of draught, wild and changing weather, storms. An era when untold thousands lost their homes due to foreclosure ... jobless, they stood for hours in breadlines, hoping for crumbs to feed their families or they foraged in dumpsters and garbage cans for just morsels to keep them alive.
Political unrest? Wars? Yes. Hitler invaded Poland in September of 1939 following Japan's invasion of China two years prior. And that, of course, was the beginning of World War II.
Sound familiar ... yet not? We are nowhere near these proportions, but shades of truth and similarity must of course be made.
And during this time of upheaval and famine and hunger and loss, some of the most beautiful music, melodious music, positive music was produced.
Pennies from Heaven
(performed by Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday and others)
A long time ago
A million years BC
The best things in life
Were absolutely free.
But no one appreciated
A sky that was always blue.
And no one congratulated
A moon that was always new.
So it was planned that they would vanish now and then
And you must pay before you get them back again.
That's what storms were made for
And you shouldn't be afraid for
Every time it rains it rains
Pennies from heaven.
Don't you know each cloud contains
Pennies from heaven.
You'll find your fortune falling
All over town.
Be sure that your umbrella is upside down.
Trade them for a package of sunshine and flowers.
If you want the things you love
You must have showers.
So when you hear it thunder
Don't run under a tree.
There'll be pennies from heaven
for you and me.
For me ... my umbrella will be turned upside down ... to catch my blessings.
For a great article from the New York Times on the Great Depression, click here.