I open my e-mail to find a YouTube posting from my friend, Lois Gilbert.
Attached in the e-mail is Lois’ harmonica rendition of ‘Sunrise Sunset.’
Lois’ better half, Vincent LaVorgna, creates her YouTube video collages to accompany her music.
I play the video, I listen to the music and I cry.
Yes, this 73-year-old man still sheds a tear when he listens to or mouths the words to or sings ‘Sunrise Sunset.’
For I do know all of Sheldon Harnick’s lyrics by heart.
For I do remember the wedding scene in Fiddler on the Roof as if I watched the movie last night:
The sun is setting;
The shtetl streets are almost dark, as the town folks and the wedding party, holding lit candles, silently move in a procession toward the synagogue:
They are accompanied by the music of a wedding band—a violin, a clarinet and a drum;
In the temple, now lit by candlelight, the bespectacled groom wears a black suit and a black top hat;
His bride is dressed in a soft white gown and a white veil covers her face;
They stand in awe—looking at each other—under a large white chuppah or wedding canopy;
They sip some red wine from a crystal glass;
The groom crushes the wine glass with his right foot;
And as the attendees hear the glass splinter, they shout ‘mazel tov’;
I recall Tevya crying as the cast sings the refrain.
Swiftly flow the days.
Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers,
Blossoming even as we gaze.
For even as a teen, when I first heard those lyrics resonating from the Broadway stage, I knew that one day, if I was lucky, I would listen to them sung at my wedding and my children’s/grandchildren’s bar mitzvah parties and at their weddings.
Well, I’ve been lucky.
For I’ve seen my fair share of sunrises and sunsets.
Sunrise, sunset ,
Swiftly fly the years,
One season following another,
Laden with happiness and tears.
What words of wisdom can I give them,
How can I help to ease their way?
Yes, my seasons have swiftly flown away.
Yes, my years have been laden with happiness and tears.
And yes, in the sunset of my life, I have a few words of wisdom:
Watch as many sunrises and sunsets as possible;
Ride your crests of happiness knowing that one day your waves will crash and turn into a rivers of tears;
Enjoy listening to Fiddler’s ‘Sunrise Sunset’;
In its honor, cry a few tears, for only you understand your
happiness and sorrow.
I hope you enjoy Lois’ rendition of ‘Sunrise Sunset’ and Vincent’s electronic collage.
And may you be blessed with a life filled with more joy than sorrow.