Thursday, June 13, 2013

Looking at Life Through Time's Telescope

Compact Disc Review

Skinny Dipping

Written, collected, and performed by Martha Reed Johnson
Recorded by Jake Dempsey for TreeHouse Artists
$15.00 for CD; $9.99 for download
Reviewed By Linda Goodman
Life's journey is full of surprises. When we take a look back at the cards life has dealt us, we are often surprised by the lessons we have learned. Those tense moments that made us cringe with embarrassment often make us laugh when we look at them through the telescope of time. Bratty siblings become our comforters; lessons are passed on from generation to generation; and sometimes the impossible becomes possible.

Skinny Dipping, this CD's title story, examines the teen-age brain, which, as we all know, sometimes does not work as it should. A quick dip in the cold New England ocean is followed by an unpleasant surprise. Luckily Martha knows how to make good use of seaweed. A kind policeman and a cool mom make this story a happy memory instead of the proverbial mistake best left forgotten.

Brat finds Martha enjoying bribes from two young lovers who want to be alone. Being ignored is bearable when candy and ice cream are substituted for a brother's company. Years later, however, that brother's company is the sweetest gift.

Martha's younger sister is Blond, Beautiful, and Bubbly – a Barbie doll girl who commands attention wherever she goes. Such charm is easy to envy and easy to resent, but Martha learns that “you don't leave family behind.” Family loves you, no matter what.

The Watch is about Teddy, whose father works for the Seth Thomas Watch Company. Teddy loves tools, especially hammers. A hammer in the hand of a curious child, however, can be a wrecking device. Teddy inherits the wreckage he creates, and a lesson is passed along from one generation to the next.

Dr. Timothy Johnson, a bonus track, was recorded live by Blackwater Entertainment at the Storytelling Festival of the Carolina's. This story of a very smart German Shepherd with PTSD and a habit of wandering for long periods of time takes a hilarious turn when his namesake comes into the picture. Can dogs really make phone calls?

After listening to this CD, I could not help but admire the dynamics of the Johnson family. Every infraction becomes a blessing. That is the gift that family members give to one another when love is at their core. Martha's family stories are her gift to us.