Knock, Knock, Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door

“Mama, take this badge off of me

I can’t use it anymore

It’s gettin’ dark, too dark for me to see

I feel like I’m knockin’ on Heaven’s door.

Knock, knock, knockin’ on Heaven’s door,

Knock, knock, knockin’ on Heaven’s door,


Knock, knock, knockin’ on Heaven’s door,

Knock, knock, knockin’ on Heaven’s door.”

And then you sing it again.  And again, and sometimes, Bobbie forgive us, with a reggae beat.  As I said after that particular rendition “si Bob Dylan était déjà mort, il tournerait dans son caveau” which I hope means approximately that it’s a good thing Bob Dylan is still with us or else he’d be turning in his grave to hear the French reggae version of his ballad.

You’ve been to summer camp where everyone sang Kumbaya over and over, for the sheer joy of singing together.  You’ve probably even been to parties where a guitar or two appeared and Kumbaya was the only song everyone knew.  Yesterday it wasn’t Kumbaya but…you guessed it.

We started our day by driving cross country, past the spectacular Pic St. Loup, to a music party at a house where incense burned, there were broccoli and grain salads on the buffet, kids splashed in the pool, and even if you weren’t one of the real musicians you picked up a tambourine.  It was like a flashback to my youth, if my youth had been lived in French, where instead of hippie they say Baba cool.  The sensation of déjà vu was intensified by the fact that although the musicians were almost all French, two thirds of the music was American.  I never imagined that I’d be singing in a pickup backup group for When The Saints Go Marchin’ In, Blue Suede Shoes, or Dust In The Wind, clustered around a microphone with a group of French singers, some of whom understood the words and some of whom were singing by rote.  Or that I’d spend a whole day knocking on heaven’s door.  Or that I’d enjoy it so much.

One of the day’s biggest pleasures was receiving compliments about Shel’s playing.  Being very rhythm-challenged myself, apparently I’ve failed to fully appreciate the fact that I’m married to a rhythm genius.  Person after person came to me to tell me how brilliantly Shel plays, and it was a joy to see him being so thoroughly appreciated.

It wasn’t all music.  We had lots of teenagers and kids doing what they do best all over the world: chilling out.  The difference here is that I got three kisses apiece from a whole procession of kids I’d never seen before, something they take for granted and I find startlingly delightful.  Believe me when I tell you, if an unknown 13 year old boy walks up to you and offers a still-downy cheek, kiss it quick.


By the end of the day we had music,  peace, and love enough to spare, and we all felt very close to heaven’s door.  Just close enough and no closer, and that’s one good thing, mon.

Explore posts in the same categories: At Home In France


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2 Comments on “Knock, Knock, Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door”

  1. Jessica Morton Says:

    Happy wishes on Bastille Day!

  2. Adam_Y Says:

    French Reggae – very under-rated.

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