Loretta Lynn, one of America’s greatest songwriters and song stylists is in the hospital today. She’s 85 and suffered a stroke.
Sitting in the Atlanta airport I see the report flash on the TV. It chokes me up.
Loretta’s a songwriter who always meant a lot to me. A feminist cry in the wilderness. Because Loretta was a voice for poor, white women in the South when such things were not easy.
She defined the discontents of a sassy, outspoken Everywoman when she wrote of the isolation of stay-at-home moms, the sexism of men’s sexual freedom at the cost of women’s physical autonomy, and the pride of Place (Appalachia) and Family (Even if he’s a jerk).
And god, she was funny.
She was a woman who defined a kind of American strength and country resilience. Akin to what Barbra Kopple’s documentary film, “Harlan County U.S.A.” reveals when the miner’s wives keep the strike going by staring down the violence of the mine owners. Their men have given up hope but the women haven’t.
For the mothers, the thought of justice is driven by their children’s faces. So, they bolster their men, keep the movement alive and make breakfast to get everyone out the door.
I imagine it works the same way in the Black Lives Matter movement – rooting itself as it does in the grief of parents who have lost children to police brutality. The wounded mother-warriors bonding across distance and trauma, who kept the deaths from disappearing. Who make breakfast and get people out the door. So they can make change, make laws, make protest.
So here’s to the mothers. And to Loretta. The Queen of Country Music. You gave voice. Let’s do the same.