"If you sing this song ("Bullfrogs & Butterflies") or sing "Have patience, have patience, don't be in such a hurry" you will either see a flash of recognition on a person's face or a really odd look as they choose to ignore your weirdness." - Robert Brouhard, https://ant-music.livejournal.com/952.html (2/10/21)
What happens when you add existential angst to chronic impatience? Spontaneous combustion, or perhaps just a restless inability to sit still. Neither option is good for a mother or a writer. When I shared my growing frustration with the pandemic at our outdoor Sunday school last week, my fellow adult leader quipped, "The first year is always the worst." Funny, ha ha.
I expressed my rising angst to my mother and she reminded me to "have patience," quoting a family-famous line from the Christian album "Bullfrogs & Butterflies: God is Great" (link). My younger brother, John, and sister, Karen, and I used to play this album on repeat, dancing around the basement to its lilting tunes. We played the album, and quoted its songs, so often that our visiting cousins were convinced that we were deeply religious.
They asked me at another brother's wedding - more than twenty years later - if we were still so connected to our faith, at which point I stared in confusion. "You were always listening to that album," my cousin, Justin, explained. My brow cleared and I assured him that we listened because we liked the catchy tunes, and the related dances were easy to choreograph. While still church-going, we fell short of the faith level he envisioned.
But when I looked up the album, and specifically the song "The fruit of the Spirit: Patience (Herbert the Snail) (link), I was astonished to: 1. find it, and 2. realize that I still knew every word. We must have played that cassette tape until we broke it, and I'm sure the subliminal messages did sink in, though none of us proselytize in the present day. Apparently the album was quite popular in the late 1970's and early 1980's. According to Brouhard, some of the albums sold over a million copies and went Platinum.
That means many adults reaching the mid-century mark are familiar with Herbert the snail and his exhortation to have patience. I have to confess that "The Fruit of the Spirit: Patience" was my least favorite song. Having frequently been reminded of the need to have patience does not, in fact, make one patient.
But we do have one piece of good news as a family that I can sit with today: my Bullfrogs - procuring mom receives her first vaccination shot! She will finally join the ranks of the protected few and be able to venture into her local Super One without trepidation, though still double-masked and eyewear-protected. The news makes me want to sing and dance around the basement to "This is the Day," giving thanks for this special bit of progress, and for discovering our childhood soundtrack.