photo by Angela Marie Henriette
On St. Patrick’s Day, Lorin and I watched Finian’s Rainbow on the Turner Classic Movie station (TCM). Although it was rather dated and at times, flat-out bizarre, the spirit and the songs, as well as the wonderful pairing of Fred Astaire and Petula Clark as father and daughter from Ireland, kept us engrossed. I woke up this morning with the song “Look to the Rainbow” in my head, and it won’t let go.
That’s what neurologist and author Dr. Oliver Sacks would refer to as a “brainworm,” a bit of music that gets stuck in your head and repeats itself over and over again. I was saddened to hear that Dr. Sacks, a personal hero of mine, was diagnosed with terminal cancer earlier this year.
I started reading Dr. Sacks’ books after my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2010, including Musicophilia and The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat. You might know him from the film Awakenings (also one of his books) starring Robin Williams and Robert DeNiro; Robin Williams plays the Dr. Sacks character. I feel I have gotten to know the man through his books and his tremendous work with countless patients afflicted with various types of neurological disorders. He has devoted his life to research and the service of others. A life well-lived.
Dr. Sacks is one of the living reminders that we must continue to look to the rainbows in our lives, wherever they may appear, whether expected or unexpected, planned or un-. This is a reminder to myself and my friends and loved ones. Times are tough, but we are tougher.
Now for Fred and Petula: