Last week my red lipstick and I drove across the beautiful green rolling hills of Virginia to speak at an event at the General Store at Smith Mountain Lake.
But before I spoke.
Before I raised my hands in the air and twirled around and smelled the storms rolling in from the west.
Before I told stories and handed out stacks of fabric giveaways and filled platters with cookies and helped hang fabric garlands from end to end in the room, the staff at the store and I gathered in the front of the building and gave each other a pep talk and put our hands together for a cheer like we were on the fifty yard line at the local football game.
On the winning side.
And then something happened that I never expected.
The staff handed me a package. I opened it to discover a photograph of my house in a beautiful, distressed wooden frame.
But not just any frame.
A frame engraved with the words to a Norwegian sailing song that I’m named after.
Kari Waits for Me.
Here is the story of that song and the meaning behind it and the words that are forever printed on my heart.
My name is KariAnne.
Some people say it like Carry Anne. Like the other song. As in what’s your game now can anybody play. It’s actually pronounced car (like the car you drive) + long e + anne (with an e).
It’s a challenge….I know.
I completely understand.
I’ve been challenged all my life with it.
And all those challenges all started with Norwegian movie spectacular, “Windjammer”……
…..and a little song called, “Kari Waits For Me.”
On the off-chance that you’re not familiar with the movie Windjammer and that world-famous song…..the lyrics go like this:
Kari waits for me at home
Oh Kari waits for me
I see her standing there beside the restless sea.
Kari waits for me at home
‘tho I must sail the sea.
I’m a sailor born to roam while Kari waits for me.
Blow ye trade winds fill the sails
Oh blow ye trade winds blow.
Blow thro’ those stormy gales
As homeward we will go.
Homeward to the snow-capped mountains
Rising from the sea
Homeward to the land I love
Where Kari waits for me
My father named me after “Kari Waits For Me” and he sang it to me my entire life.
I would perch at his feet and he would pull out his guitar and softly strum the words.
And in a lilting voice he would sing my song.
He would sing about Kari and her sailor and far-off lands and the ever-blowing trade winds.
It was my favorite song in the whole world.
Ever….in the history of ever.
When I got married I stood in the reception hall in a beautiful white dress with overly beaded shoes and plenty of red lipstick, listening to my father sing “Kari Waits For Me.”
He played his guitar and sang the song he had sung to me my entire life.
I listened with eyes glistening as he strummed the first notes of the song. Then the words drifted across the reception hall as he sang the first verse and the chorus and then suddenly….
….there was harmony.
From the recesses of the dark corner of the room, another voice joined in. My new husband joined the chorus, playing his guitar with his twinkling brown eyes staring down at me full of the day and the moment and the future to come.
Singing my song.
Together my husband and my father stood together as they sang and sang and sang to me.
And I stood there as the tears ran down my face.
Then quietly, my father stopped singing and strummed a few more notes before quietly fading off the stage.
Leaving only my husband…..
….singing my song.
The song from my father.
The song of my childhood.
The torch had been passed.
“Kari Waits For Me” started a new chapter.
A new life.
A new beginning.
Decades letter, after my father’s passing, my brother found the notes to that song tucked away amid the files and notes and stacks of paper in his desk.
And he framed them and gave them to me.
Those precious, wonderful, incredible words of “Kari Waits For Me.”
The notes to the song written by my father on that long-ago night.
When a father, who loved a daughter, guided her to a new chapter in her life.
And sang her his heart.
PS I cried when they gave me the picture frame, too. 🙂