Parkinson’s: Simple Man

“I’m a simple man, and I use simple materials.” L. S. Lowry

“I’m a simple, simple man.” Jeremy Renner

Introduction: There is a start and end to every blog post. The beginning of my post here takes one back to October 20, 1977. We were in a car, getting ready for the concert by Lynyrd Skynyrd, when we heard their plane had crashed coming from Greenville, SC to Baton Rouge, LA, for their show at Louisiana State University (LSU). Six of the twenty-six occupants died in the crash, including their lead singer Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist and vocalist Steve Gaines, and backup singer Cassie Gaines. Shock and sadness were felt by many.

“I am a simple man and I want simple answers.” Howard Aikeny

Lynyrd Skynyrd (pronounced /ˌlɛnərd ˈskɪnərd/ LEN-ərd SKIN-ərd) was/is one of the all-time best Southern Rock bands. They were initially from Jacksonville, FL, and likely you have heard their almost anthem-like songs “Sweet Home Alabama” and Freebird.” To read more about them, look over this review from Wikipedia (Click here).

There have been a lot of Southern Rock bands since the 1970s, a shortlist would include the Allman Brothers, Marshall Tucker Band, Outlaws, 38 Special, and definitely, Lynyrd Skynyrd would be tied with the Allman Brothers at the top of the list (in my opinion)!

Saturday night, November 13, 2021, in Greensboro Coliseum, NC, I finally got the chance to see Lynyrd Skynyrd live. Although it was 44 years later than I had initially planned, it was worth the wait. They were simply spectacular in every way and song imaginable.

“I remain a simple man who has more questions than answers. Please join me as I seek to turn that tide.” Bill Duke

Not a Believer in the Bucket List:  I am not much with keeping a list for anything, let alone the so-called “Bucket List,” which is a list of all the goals you want to achieve, dreams you want to fulfill, and life experiences you want to have before you die. It would be sad to have maintained such a list and never checked off any or some of these events you long to do at some point in your life. However, there are events and places I want to visit or achieve at some point in my life; they are embedded in my memory, not a sheet or list. But I’ve got to admit, waiting all of these years to finally see Lynyrd Skynyrd was beyond belief and was quite an emotional experience for me.

“Oh take your time don’t live too fast / Troubles will come and they will pass.” Simple Man by Lynyrd Skynyrd

The actual Lynyrd Skynyrd concert from 13 NOV 2021 in Greensboro, NC has been posted on YouTube (click here)

Simple Man: One of the more ballad-like, very melodic songs of Lynyrd Skynyrd has always been “Simple Man.” The story of a mother talking with her son, giving him advice on how to live when he grows up. Simple rules, be a simple man, and all will be well. Ok, life is never that simple, but you get the gist of the song. With their traditional 2-3 lead guitars, swaying back and forth, the original lyrics sung by Ronnie Van Zant and Steve Gaines on the guitar and singing, it was a powerful, moving song. Today, it still is almost magical, as now aptly sung by Ronnie’s younger brother, Johnny Van Zant and three very talented guitar players (Gary Rossington, Rickey Medlocke, and Mark Matejka) . And if your gene pool is from the Deep South, you have spent most of your life living in the South/southeastern part of the USA, and you called your mother mama by any other name, then you can imagine how this song might affect people.

“Forget your lust for the rich man’s gold / All that you need is in your soul.” Simple Man by Lynyrd Skynyrd

Parkinson’s and Keeping Life Simple: There is no doubt that Parkinson’s complicates a life; its goal is to make you self-serving of some sinister internal will. Parkinson’s wants you to stay stiff, sullen, and listless. There are many things you must do to adapt and live well with Parkinson’s. For many of us, living a simple life, living a life with fewer frills, but a wholesome, healthy lifestyle will irritate the dickens out of your Parkinson’s. Here are a few suggestions to keep you ahead of Parkinson’s by keeping life simple (Yes, I do realize accomplishing some of these suggestions is neither simple nor easy, but trying them will ultimately help simplify your life).

  • Keep it straightforward by eating better and healthier, and exercise frequently;
  • Try to sleep more each night, stay away from stress (if possible), and you will be rewarded.
  • Be thankful for what you have and always be grateful as much as possible.
  • Watch the clock to remind yourself to take your medication on time (as much as you can).
  • Tame the inner beast by keeping your thoughts calm by practicing mindfullness.
  • Do the best you can to manage and resist the pull-down effect of the disorder.
  • Remember, you already possess all of the tools needed to take control away from Parkinson’s and live fully again by living it down a notch, keeping it a simple life.

And be a simple kind of man / Oh be something you love and understand.” Simple Man by Lynyrd Skynyrd

Conclusions: How you live your life is your choice. Parkinson’s derives energy from forcing you to change your responses/reactions to life. My goal here is to remind you there are ways to keep afront of your disorder. Keep living; keep your hope focused on gaining ground against Parkinson’s. Stay the course; if living in a simpler mode works, then go for it. To close with these words, “Oh don’t you worry you’ll find yourself / Follow your heart and nothing else.” Simple Man by Lynyrd Skynyrd

Two versions of Simple Man. First, as it was recorded in 1973, and more recently, a live version from 2018:

Simple Man Song by Lynyrd Skynyrd Lyrics:

Mama told me when I was young
Come sit beside me my only son
And listen closely to what I say
And if you do this it’ll help you
Some sunny day oh yeah

Oh take your time don’t live too fast
Troubles will come and they will pass
Go find a woman yeah and you’ll find love
And don’t forget son there is someone up above

And be a simple kind of man
Oh be something you love and understand
Baby be a simple kind of man
Oh won’t you do this for me son if you can

Forget your lust for the rich man’s gold
All that you need is in your soul
And you can do this oh babe if you try
All that I want for you my son is to be satisfied

And be a simple kind of man
Oh be something you love and understand
Baby be a simple kind of man
Oh won’t you do this for me son if you can
Oh yes I will

Oh don’t you worry you’ll find yourself
Follow your heart and nothing else
And you can do this oh babe if you try
All that I want for you my son is to be satisfied

And be a simple kind of man
Oh be something you love and understand
Baby be a simple kind of man
Oh won’t you do this for me son if you can

And baby be a simple real simple man
Oh be something you love and understand
Baby be a simple kind of man

“The man who inspired me most, I think, was Dr. Alfred Blalock, who was professor of surgery at Johns Hopkins. He was a rather simple man with a burning curiosity. It was through his curiosity that he made many real contributions to medical science.” Denton Coole

Cover photo Image credit by lloorraa from Pixabay

2 Replies to “Parkinson’s: Simple Man”

  1. What a great post. I had the blessing of seeing Lynard Skynard several times. I live in Greenville SC ( didn’t go to the show you reference) but remember the accident well. I love this post! I am making great strides in all of the areas you mention. Just this morning, my wife and I were discussing the difference in my mornings now versus pre-diagnosis. I used to wake up so groggy and would take an hour or more to feel awake. With meds and 9 hours of sleep I mostly wake up rested and ready for the day. In addition to my Levadopa, I do B-complex shots twice a week and one Vit D shot every two weeks. Both have made significant change.I also workout almost every day.

    Like

    1. Thanks for the note, glad you enjoyed the blog post. And 9 hours of sleep at night, wow, good for you, that’s amazing. Your path is definitely moving in the right direction and best wishes with everything else going on in your life. Frank

      Liked by 1 person

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