I was riding to work this morning with the radio tuned to a SiriusXM™ station, when Olivia Newton-John began singing “I Honestly Love You.” I turned to the love of my life, a.k.a. my wife, and said, “Every time I hear that song, I think of that little dinner in downtown Milan, Tennessee.”
That was her cue to turn to me with a smile on her face and love in her eyes and say something like, “Me too. It was wonderful.” Then she would reach over, take my hand, and give it a little squeeze.
Instead of the expected response, she said, “Oh, that’s such a sad song.”
I was shocked. My balloon burst. I blurted out, “Sad? How can you say that?”
Was it possible that she had forgotten?
“Remember? It was thirty-two years ago in a small dinner in downtown Milan, Tennessee. I played it on the jukebox for you. The man at the counter was complimenting the cook on his scrambled eggs and brains. Don’t you remember?”
Perhaps it was the tone in my voice, or the shocked, pleading look on my face, or maybe she really did remember. Whatever the case, she smiled and said, “Of course dear, I remember.”
It was one of those unforgettable moments in a couples’ life together. We had just come from making arrangements for our wedding at a little church just outside of Milan.
It was close to noon, so we decided to stop for a bite to eat. The little old dinner downtown seemed somehow more romantic than one of those burger joints.
The setting was perfect, a quiet booth in the corner, a romantic song playing on the jukebox, the air was filled with magic. As Perry Como would say, “Time cannot erase the memory of these magic moments.”
The love of my life is one of those unique people who remembers everything and forgets nothing. I learned long ago that I must be very careful of what I say. Always compliment; never criticize.
My love needs only a musical note, at most two, and she will begin singing the song. Whether an old hit from years long gone, or a children’s song she learned to sing in elementary school, the lyrics are all stored somewhere in herbrain between files labeled “Novels and Short Stories” and “Movies.”
Don’t ever even consider playing a game of trivia with her. You will surely be embarrassed.
I remember the time a group of seminary students challenged her to a game of Bible trivia. When they began, the seminarians all had the sort of smile on their faces that only a Calvinist would understand. When the game was over, her opponents were no longer smiling. It never occurred to them that a mere young lady raised a Southern Baptist could humble them so. They left with their heads bent low and their shoulders sagging. I thought I heard one mumble something about switching to a MBA program.
Of course this is all in jest, most of it, that is.
On a more serious note, today is the seventy-sixth birthday of Charlie Hardin Holley, better known as Buddy Holly. For those who are not old enough to remember, he was one of the singer-songwriters who helped birth Rock n’ Roll during the mid-fifties. “That’ll Be the Day” (1955) and “Peggy Sue” (1957) are perhaps his two best known recordings.
Buddy Holly died tragically along with two other raising rock n’ roll stars, Richie Valens and J. P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson, on February 2, 1959, when their small airplane crashed shortly after taking off from Mason City, Iowa. In 1971, Don McLean wrote and recorded “American Pie,” commemorating their death as “The Day the Music Died.”
I close with an apology. It has been more than a month since my last posting. Other writing commitments got in the way, leaving me with little time and even less inspiration. My goal is to do better in the future.
Until next time, be good to all God’s creation and always live under the mercy