We recently sat in a restaurant when two people approached our table, one of them the waitress, the other a trainee. “He’s shadowing me,” said the waitress. Funny that this statement would bring back memories, but it did. I remember well the song “Me And My
Shadow.” It became popular way back in 1927 when Al Jolson sang and danced to it. Since then, recorded versions were made by Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Perry Como, Glenn Miller and Donald O’Connor, to mention a few.
What I remember most about the song was singing it with my mother while she washed and I dried dishes. She was often asked, “Is this your daughter, she looks just like you?” So as we practiced the song, my mother would say, “Someday, we’ll sing it on stage, and you’ll follow behind me and be my shadow.” We never did this! But, at the time, I loved being told that I looked like my mother’s shadow, until later years as I look in the mirror and think, “I look more like my mother every day.” I believe many women today can relate to this.
The title “Me and My Shadow,” is grammatically incorrect, but “My Shadow and I” just doesn’t have the same ring. The song speaks of being lonely and makes you feel melancholy, unless you watch an old video of Don O’Connor doing it, then you laugh. I know the words by heart. “Just me and my shadow strolling down the avenue, Just me and my shadow, not a soul to tell our troubles too, And when it ‘s twelve o’clock we climb the stairs, we never knock, ’cause nobody there. Just me and my shadow all alone and feeling blue.” The tune is catchy with the ideal rhythm to tap dance to.
Certain times of the day, the sun reflects an image of one’s self on the ground. What child hasn’t been amazed to find his shadow for the first time. I look at my shadow, that dark representation of myself, and wonder if my hips really look that wide. So you see I don’t take it very seriously, but some people take the word “Shadow” to mean the dark side of a personality, our unconsciousness, an entity existing apart from a person.
As a child, I would listen, with my two brothers, to a radio program called, “The Shadow Knows.” The Shadow was always the good guy and he knew all about the bad guy. He knew all, and undoubtedly knew about all those qualities we are said to hide from ourselves but which remain active in our unconscious. Yes, these qualities form a splinter personality or complex, maybe like we’ve seen in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. For some it may be the Devil or Satan that they must come to terms with in their shadow.
This writing all began with a fun song, “Me and My Shadow,” So what happened? I got sidetracked. The shadow I know about is not an invading alien force, nor it it evil or demonic. I look at my shadow and I make it dance and as I walk, I’m thankful there is another shadow beside mine, my life’s mate’s.
Getting back to the waitress who said her helper was shadowing her. There’s only one person I want to shadow and that’s Jesus. He’s always there and chases away the blues and loneliness, too. How about you?