A-to-Z Challenge 2023 – R is for Roy Clark – Resilience in Songs #atozchallenge #songs

The 2023 A-to-Z blogging challenge theme is resilience. Resilience is the ability to get back on our feet and keep going after life knocks us down and kicks sand in our faces. Resilience is how the psyche survives and copes, but resilience doesn’t necessarily wear a cape of positivity.

The 26 songs I’ve chosen show us, musically, what resilience looks (sounds?) like. I’ll offer a reflection of the resilience in each song. The songs are alphabetical by the artist’s first name or the group’s name, except for M, O, U, and X.

#AtoZChallenge 2023 letter R

R is for Roy Clark and Thank God and Greyhound.

My gosh.

It’s about time I lightened up these ‘resilience in songs’ articles. A through Q have been serious and, at times, real downers. To offset that, Roy Clark is here to add humor, albeit dark humor (my favorite kind) and a toe-tapping tune to lift us (me) out of the resilience doldrums.

greyhound bus, terminal, stationRoy Clark released Thank God and Greyhound in September 1970. The song made it into the Top 10 on Billboard’s country music chart.

This is a delightfully entertaining song that begins with a deceptive melancholy rhythm with lyrics that set us up for a crying-in-his-beer country song, and then it surprises us with a mid-song change.

The narrator’s resilience is in perseverance and not giving up that something will change for the better in his relationship with a woman who is slowly draining his will to live. She’d been dragging him through a knothole backwards for a long, long time.

But he stuck with her and tolerated the abuse she handed out because he thought he loved her. She squandered his money, shamed him, nearly killed his self-respect, and made a wreck out of him emotionally and psychologically. His resilience to tolerate her was attached to his commitment to her (marriage?), and by golly, he was sticking it out if it killed him, and it apparently was close to doing just that.

Only by sheer will and determination was he able to stay in that toxic relationship. She’s beaten his self-esteem almost down to nothing left to salvage, and he didn’t have the resilience to fight with her or to resist her. He felt trapped by his own doing, and he saw no easy way out.

Then for whatever reasons, she decides to up and leave him,

Now you come to meWith a simple goodbyeYou tell me you’re leavingBut you won’t tell me why

She doesn’t realize she’s thrown him a lifesaving floaty-ring, which he grabs with both hands and hangs on for dear life. He takes a deep, hopeful breath like a drowning person takes when they make it back on land.

Now we’re here at the station
And you’re getting on
And all I can think of is…

Wait for it…

The tempo suddenly picks up and…

Thank God and Greyhound you’re gone…
I didn’t know how much longer I could go on
That shiny old bus is a beautiful sight
With the black smoke a-rollin’
Up around the tail pipes

He can’t believe his good fortune that she left him. His relief at her departure feels like being given a second chance at life. The cloud of gloom, despair, and agony that has hovered over him for who knows how long is gone, and happy days are here again. He’s practically doing handsprings in the station parking lot.

It may sound kinda cruelBut I’ve been silent too longThank God and Greyhound you’re gone!

His resilience to endure and his ability to hold up under the tyranny of this soul-eating harridan finally paid off. She’d beaten him down, but he hadn’t thrown in the towel. He’s a survivor now, and he’s looking to the future with hope of regaining everything she’s taken out of him.

*Greyhound Bus terminal image via Pixabay

Until next time,
Kaye Spencer
writing through history one romance upon a time

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