Roadside Emotions

Roadside Emotions July 3, 2006

I had occasion to spend the whole day with my children last week–the first time this summer. It’s rather late in the summer to be marking my very first whole day home with the kids this year, but Montgomery County, Maryland keeps the kids in school until mid-June and there is this beautiful thing called sleep away camp, to which all three of my children went the first week out of school.

There are so many things to be thankful for.

At any rate, the kids and I spent an entire day together on Friday getting ready for family vacation this week. We ran errands, did laundry, packed suitcases . . . all in anticipation of an entire week at the lake.

It was lovely, this time with the kids.

Except for one very minor detail.

By the end of the day I was determined to severely hurt whomever it was at aforementioned sleep away camp who ever thought it might be a good idea to teach my children the song, “Blind Man Stood By the Road”.

You know the one?

Blind man stood by the road and he cried!
Blind man stood by the road and he cried!
Blind man stood by the road and he cried!
He cried, “Ohhhhhhhhhh, show me the way!”
“Show me the way!”
“Show me the way!”
“The way to go hoooooooome!”

There are (many) successive verses, culminating with:

Jesus hung on the cross and he cried!
Jesus hung on the cross and he cried!

Jesus hung on the cross and he cried!
He cried, “Ohhhhhhhhh, I am the way!”
“I am the way!”
“I am the way!”
“I am the way!”
“The way to go hoooooooome!”

I certainly remember singing this at camp myself. It’s a very upbeat song which includes a lot of rhythmic clapping and some very dramatic guitar chords.

But I certainly do NOT remember singing it over and over . . . and over, until I drove every hearing person around me to total and complete distraction.

I started by asking them to keep it down.

Isn’t it nice, I thought, that they are singing a song about Jesus being the way (of course it takes about 7 verses to get there, but it still made me happy. Briefly)?

After listening to the song about 20,000 times, though, I was getting a little tired of the blind man. So I progressed to telling them that if they insisted on continuing their songfest they were going to have to take it outside. Outside to an area from which I could not hear even the faintest “ohhhhhhhh” even if I was straining to listen.

This instruction worked for a few minutes, until they slowly gravitated inside again (doing chores) and I realized they were breaking into spontaneous song–they couldn’t help singing what was quickly becoming, not a nice little song about Jesus being the way, but a downright annoying musical expression, content aside.

Sighing deeply I finally asked them, if they insisted on singing the song within my auditory range, if they would please, please keep it down to avoid startling me as I was trying to get things done, I would appreciate it.

They tried.

But they were excited about vacation and, frankly, the blind man song does not lend itself to soft and mellow expression. It was inevitable, I soon realized, that the song would increase in volume and intensity. That’s the whole point of why they teach it at camp, I realized.


But that does not mean it has to go on indefinitely in my own personal house, which is not, technically, a sleep away camp.

Unless there are three enthusiastic singers of the same song versus one desperate mother trying to get them to stop, in which case you can close your eyes and you might think you are, in fact, at sleep away camp.

Which was the case in my situation.

And which resulted in the blind man not being the only one standing by the road and crying.

I finally gave up and joined him.

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