http://www.reverbnation.com/play_now/13650271 Link for midi version"Booze Blues Cruise" no vocals
http://www.reverbnation.com/play_now/13643315 for a live version of "He That is in Us" added in October
Why talk about these two songs together on the blog? Because I want to honor my father, Raymond Joseph Lajoie, who died about 10 years ago. He was one of the greatest men I've known from the "greatest generation". He had to run the potato farm up in Van Buren, Maine at 10 years old because his father was an alcoholic. He worked many different kinds of hard labor: lumberjack, builder, mechanic, millwright at 75. I discovered only at his funeral that his compatriots on Guadalcanal considered him a hero. He had trained them in hand-to-hand combat and led them well. His faith and religion meant everything to him.
He had just one enormous problem: like his father, he, too, was an alcoholic. When she first married him, my mother discovered that PTSD and this addiction plagued him. After my 2 brothers were born, she divorced him. He went to the Church and "took the pledge" as they did in those days, they remarried, and he was sober for eight years. In that time, my sister and I were born. We had an idyllic life living on a lake - until I was three. Then we moved to the city and Dad broke out. The next five years were really bad. Finally, the priest told my mother you can't live with such a bad alcoholic. We moved in a small place and I didn't see him for ten years.
After my conversion, I was at St. Paul's Center and I went into a room and started bawling from the pain of missing my father. Mr. Tondreau saw and came to talk with me and others came. One single thing changed my life. Someone said, "Do you pray for him every day?" I had to admit I didn't. "Do that and mean it."
I did. I reached out to him, too, and sent him "My Daily Bread". I went to go see him. I didn't talk or preach at all. I was there, that's all; and I prayed. A little while later, I found out he had gone to Confession and was going to Mass every day and had moved out from the woman he had been with. The transformation was total. For the rest of his life, working for Lajoie Brothers, he became the pillar of the whole extended family and someone all my cousins could go to.
After I had moved to Massachusetts, I went up to see him one time. It was an amazing experience to FEEL the depth and power of his confidence and faith. He was walking with God and I could feel the Holy Spirit POWER.
I walked out of there singing "He That Is In Us" at the top of my lungs. It was his confidence now living in me.
Later I worked at a detox for alcoholics for many years and saw a LOT of things, but what I experience over and over through the 12 Steps is that turning to God was the answer not just to alcoholism but the ultimately natural and sane act of human beings. And, besides being a "dry drunk", it's the ONLY way to be free of it.
"He That Is In Us" became a song we did many, many times in the late 70's and the dancers had a cool dance to it. It's an early and simple song, but I sure like it; and, of course, because of my father, it has a deeper meaning for me.
I wrote "Booze Blues Cruise" in the cellar at 505 Pleasant on the electric guitar as a rocker. I showed it to Greg, I think; I'm not sure who else. But the group never did it. The sheer joy of allowing God's Spirit of love to free you from addiction is something I saw first hand many times and, for me, that's what's coming out in that song.
I sometimes told my friends in detox that they were lucky. "What'd'ya mean??!?!" they'd say. "You know you need God! Everyone does, but most don't know it; you do."
Thank you for reading and listening, if you did.
May the Lord deliver you just like He did for Raymond Lajoie.
|My father, Raymond, top row, second from the left with his brothers and sisters.|