My song

I’ve always wanted a song. When asked what song did I call my own, I have been known to respond jokingly, “Nowhere Man.”

It wasn’t because of the lyrics. If I had listened to the lyrics, I would have known that wasn’t me. I just liked the title.

I’ve thought about Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Boxer.” Love the song but it’s one of those pick-my-rear-end-out-of-the-dirt-and-get-on-with-it songs.

It does that. And it does it in aces. But I can’t say that it is a song that defines me.

Then I heard Greg Lake of Emerson Lake & Palmer perform his “Footprints in the Snow.”

I chanced upon the song by accident. I had heard that Keith Emerson had committed suicide. To honor this great musician whom I had loved in my youth, I went back and listened to several of their albums, then I found Footprints. At first, I thought maybe Greg had written it for Keith–and that may be so. I found it on the 1992 “Black Moon” and began to re-evaluate. Maybe Greg composed this song for one of his children. Or a lover.

But there seemed to be more to it than that. At least, for me. Over the years since that 2016 night, I’ve listened to Footprints hundreds of times. Wasn’t sure why I loved the song but I loved the song.

The other night I pulled it up and listened to Footprints once again. And it hit me. This is a song about my relationship with myself. It’s a struggle of trying to come to terms with that relationship.

“First time when you looked at me
You tried to hide but I could see
A special beauty in your eyes
Passion flying like a spark
Like an arrow to the mark
I feel it sting my jealousy

Before you know there’s footprints in the snow

Desire like a river flows
Where it comes from no one knows
It isn’t heard, it isn’t seen.
Love just like a flower grows
And then God only knows
It comes down like guillotine

Now I feel the rain
of love torn by a hurricane
One night eclipsed the sun
How deep still waters run

How deep they go like footprints in the snow

Take my love into your brest
Commit my spirit to the test
You will see him like a knight
His armour gleams
We’ll fly upon his angel’s wings
Above the clouds in rainbow rings
We can sail a ship of dreams

If you will take my hand
We can cross this desert made of sand
We can break in through the ice
And feel the wind of paradise
We’ll feel it blow our footprints in the snow

Anytime you feel alone
Just raise your hand, pick up the phone
Take in my number, there I’ll be
If one day your stars won’t shine
I will give you some of mine
Cause they could fall so easily

We both know there’s footprints in the snow.”

Do you have a song you claim as your own? What is it, and why?

Head Over Heels

This one is for Valentine’s Day and all the true believers in love and romance.

When I was in college, I had the Experience, or should I say the Experience had me. She was twenty-two and I was nineteen. She was studying for her masters in anthropology but her real major was adventure.

I was at a party some of my friends had given. She shimmered in, a warm glow flowing into the room. As she made her way toward me, it was as if a moon beam was falling toward a lake. I knew how the lake must feel, waiting in anticipation. Suddenly there she was, telling me her name. It was Hemingway. It wasn’t that her father liked the writer. Her mother just liked the name.

I was head over the precipice, my heels unable to hold me to the ground. We talked for a bit. Then we left, her magic leading me onward the way that Tinkerbell must’ve led Peter to Never Never that first time when he longed to stay a boy forever. We went out that door and stood in the middle of the street kissing for a half hour under the full moon. Right there and then I understood why that Prince went in search of Cinderella though he had only her one shoe by which to find her. How could he have not?

Over the next twenty days my life was filled with life. We were inseparable. We went sailing, canoeing, kayaking and surfing. She even got me to parachute out of a plane. But the scariest time was when she took me hang-gliding. During the day we did a new something-or-other that she had always wanted to do. At night we made love, sometimes wild and passionate, other times tender. It was as if heaven had somehow come down to earth and surrounded us with all its wonder.

Then she was gone. I woke up in the bed in my apartment early on the day after Valentine’s. I turned over toward her to kiss her a good day, a smile on my face. I was the luckiest man on earth. But, instead of her dark brown hair with even darker brown eyes, I saw a note.

Thank you, Trent, for all the wonder. It has been a grand adventure these past weeks. I love you but this can’t go on. I can’t take anymore of this happiness. When I met you that night, it was to be the last night of my life. It was only an accident that I came there. A friend had called me up at the last minute and asked me to come. I was about to end my life when I walked through that door and saw you, the most beautiful face I had ever seen. There was so much magic in it. I could never have imagined how beautiful life could be. But now I know and I thank you for what you gave me. Hem.

I searched for her but never saw her again. After a year of dead-ends I finally gave up. It was then that I realized that Happily Ever Afters don’t exist. But fairy tales do.

I married her in the autumn

Another Uncle Bardie lyric

I married her in the autumn,
I divorced her in the fall,
She had a drinking problem,
Dr. Pepper as I recall.

It was Dr. Pepper in the morning,
Dr. Pepper at noon,
Dr. Pepper in the evening,
She was a Dr. Pepper fool.

It was Dr. Pepper in her office,
Dr. Pepper when she texted,
Dr. Pepper on vacation,
Dr. Pepper when we had sex.

It was Dr. Pepper in our closets,
Dr. Pepper in our pool,
Left no place for a thing
That wasn’t Dr. Pepper cool.

Now as I look back at my life
One thing I cannot abide,
To be told that I will have
Dr. Pepper for my bride.

Near 500 Words: Wedding Bell Blues

“Wedding Bell Blues” by the Fifth Dimension

Leaving his fiancee’s apartment after four-hundred-and-fifty-seven arguments over the wedding, hurrying down the stairs with the feet of Mercury, tripping on the crack in the sidewalk, picking his frustrated body off the ground, rushing toward the car, Owen caught sight of the flat tire on his Honda. Not stopping to change the tire, he rushed past the car, anger in each of his steps.

He dashed through an intersection, barely dodging a fortress of a truck. Down an unlit street and  toward the unknown, his fingers squeezed tightly against his palms. Coming to a dead-end, he turned onto a side street, then stopped in mid-stride. Standing there alone in the dark, gazing through the window of a house, seeing a couple arguing, he realized he had one more thing he wanted to tell Louise, his fiancee.

He glanced at his watch. It said three a.m. Where had the last two hours gone?

He turned and began the effort of retracing his steps. After several bad choices, he found himself back at this car and its flat tire.

Leaning against the red vehicle, taking out a cigarette for a quick smoke, lighting up the tobacco, drawing in one long drag after another, dropping the butt to the asphalt, he pulled on his emotional armor, readying himself for the combat about to come. He headed up the stairs two steps at a time. Arriving at Louise’s door, he pounded on it until he heard a movement inside.

From several apartments, neighbors shouted, “Cut the noise.”

The door opened. Louise stared up at the man she’d thought she was going to spend her life with. “What the hell do you want?”

“Okay. We’ll have a church wedding.”

“(Last Night) I Didn’t Get to Sleep” At All by The Fifth Dimension

Prejudice

Inspired by Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility.

Ellie’s mother was irate when Ellie told her she was engaged to Eddie.

“He’ll never do,” her mother said.

“But why? He’s wonderful to me. And on top of that, he has a position at a prestigious law firm. What more could a mother want for her daughter.”

“And I suppose he was an Eagle Scout?”

“How did you know? C’mon, Mom, tell me why you don’t like him.”

Her mother held back, ashamed at her prejudice. But she knew Eddie was not the guy for her daughter. She’d been through this with her other daughter and she had been right. Her marriage had not worked out.

“Call it a mother’s intuition. I don’t think he’s right for you.”

“Mother, please.” Ellie had always given into her mother’s idiosyncrasies. But not this time.”I love him, and I’m going to marry him, and there’s nothing you can do about it. So there.”

“Mark my words. It’ll be the worst decision of your life.”

Ellie shook her head, got up and washed her cup in the sink. “I gotta go.”

She went to the door and stopped. “Tell me. What do you have against Eddie?”

“it’s not Eddie. It’s you.”

“It’s me. What does that mean?”

“I mean it’s you two together. He’d be perfect for somebody else. He really would.”

Thinking she had some disease she didn’t know about, she asked, “What’s wrong with me?”

“Nothing’s wrong with you. You’re perfect the way you are.”

“But you just said.”

“All right. Sit down and I’ll tell you.”

Sitting across from her mother, Ellie waited for the truth.

Finally her mother let it out. “You both have the same alphabet letter at the beginning of your names. You’re both E’s.”

“What? That’s crazy. What does that have to do with anything?”

“Your names will confuse the reader. Pretty soon they won’t be able to tell Ellie from Eddie.”

“You think we’re characters in a novel?”

“That’s right,” her mother informed her.

“That’s the craziest thing I’ve ever heard of.”

“Haven’t you ever wondered why you don’t have a birth certificate. Or you can’t remember elementary school or your first date or whether you’re a virgin or not?”

“Of course I’m not a virgin.”

“Who did the deed?”

“Why…uh…well, it was…Darned if I can’t remember. You mean?”

“Yep. We’re all characters in a novel. We just don’t know it.”

“So what do I do? It’s Eddie or it’s no one at all. I love Eddie with all my heart.”

Her mother thought about the dilemma for several minutes. Finally she asked, “Does Eddie have a middle name? I know you don’t.”

“Yes, and he hates it.”

“What is it?”

“Roscoe.”

“Well, that will never do.”