As 2016 winds to an end, I want to do something different. Rather than reflect upon the show directly, I want to celebrate a very minor detail in pony apocrypha. Last year, Hasbro released an album, "It's a Pony Kind of Christmas." The songs on it have a wide range. Some are quite beautifully scored, and some are tender, but for the most part, the appeal of the album is its whimsical nature – and unapologetic corniness.
One track on it, however, stands out above the others. The Apple Family's version of Auld Lang Syne. Like all the songs on the album, it's a classic tune with altered lyrics. This version is about family. Nostalgia. Tradition. Solid subject matter for Applejack, for obvious reasons. However, whoever put this song together snuck something else in there. Something deeper. "Days Gone By" is not just a generic song about family. It captures something extremely specific. It is all about paying tribute to family members who aren't with us.
Have a look at the opening lines:
"When family cannot be here
Havin' journeyed far and wide
We sing a song to honor them
To remember days gone by."
The song doesn't say so directly, of course, but it really feels - to me at least – like Applejack is singing about her dead parents. The specific words that were chosen are very reminiscent of the way one talks about one's ancestors, or the recently departed. You don't "sing a song to honor" your cousin who couldn't make it to a New Year's eve party, no matter how much you love them. That's how you celebrate those no longer with us.
The entire song lends itself to duel interpretation. Even the lyrics put in there to be reassuring (that the song is about something other than honoring the dead) – come off as merely metaphorical. The departed are not there because they are "journeying," or in later verses, "across seas far and wide." These lyrics almost paint a picture of death as a sort of new beginning. After all, the moral of the song is that those whom we love are still with us in spirit, and that the way to honor them is to tell stories of days gone by.
If you haven't heard the album, I would strongly recommend, at the very least, to give this song a listen. Why? Because 2016 sucked.
It was a year of tremendous loss – not just of the countless beloved celebrities - people who made remarkable contributions to the world – but on and intimate level too. A lot of us lost loved ones. Family members. Pets. You'd be hard-pressed to find somebody who doesn't, in some way, feel like this entire year is cursed. It's even been a running gag all over the Internet that, this New Year's, rather than celebrating the birth of 2017, we will all be celebrating the death of 2016.
As cute as that sounds, I think we have an opportunity to make more of it than that. Let's take this opportunity to honor those we have lost in 2016 - to celebrate their lives, and the many ways, however small, that our own lives were changed because of their contributions. Let's celebrate that we are still here.
Even as we face what is sure to be a tumultuous and uncertain future, let us look to those who made a difference for us in our pasts, and with those memories, plant a seed of responsibility - a dedication to make a difference for others, and to live out the legacies of those we have lost. I'm not talking about lame resolutions we all break two weeks into December. I'm talking about a way of looking at the world - a way of looking at our heroes, and using them as a source of inspiration.
Few of us get memes made about us when we pass, nor are we talked about on television, but we can leave our own legacies behind through the people whose lives we touch - through lives well lead. And while we're still here, let's look back at those who paved the way for us in our own lives, and raise our cider mugs high.
SONG: DAYS GONE BY
"Our paths will cross again one day
In time to reunite
For family is always near
Even when the seas are wide
So take your cup and raise it high
Just as surely I'll do mine
And make a toast for family
And the tales of days gone by."