WAS IT TRUE?
I once asked a very successful songwriter friend of mine here in Nashville about a hit song he had written some years ago. The song has been recorded by over 800 different artists and has received over 2 million air plays. Elvis recorded it on his last album, “Moody Blue.” Just that one recording alone should keep one in groceries for a lifetime. My friend gave me an interesting answer. First he smiled and then looking at me said, “Aren’t all songs true for someone?”
As another year is coming to a close I am reminded of another certain song. In the mid 70s’ he came home for a short visit to his hometown of Peoria, Illinois. It was Christmas Eve. He ran into an old girlfriend at a convenience store. They had gone together throughout high school. They graduated in 1969 with both of them going to different colleges. Later she married and he moved to Colorado to pursue his music career. On this Christmas Eve they both were back home visiting family when she went out for egg nog and he was sent to the store to find some whipping cream. The only place open was a convenience store and by chance they ran into one another in the store. From that encounter came the following.
“Met my old lover in the grocery store, the snow was falling Christmas Eve. I strolled behind her in the frozen foods and I touched her on the sleeve. She didn’t recognize the face at first, but then her eyes flew open wide. She went to hug me and she spilled her purse and we laughed until we cried. We took her groceries to the checkout stand; the food was totaled up and bagged. We stood there lost in our embarrassment as the conversation dragged. We went to have ourselves a drink or two, but couldn’t find an open bar. We bought a six-pack at the liquor store and we drank it in her car.
We drank a toast to innocence; we drank a toast to now.
And tried to reach beyond the emptiness but neither one knew how. She said she’d married her an architect who kept her warm and safe and dry. She would have liked to say she loved the man, but she didn’t like to lie. I said the years had been a friend to her and that her eyes were still as blue, but in those eyes I wasn’t sure if I saw doubt or gratitude. She said she saw me in the record stores and that I must be doing well. I said the audience was heavenly but the traveling was hell.
We drank a toast to innocence we drank a toast to now. And tried to reach beyond the emptiness but neither one knew how.
We drank a toast to innocence; we drank a toast to time.
Reliving in our eloquence another ‘Auld Lang Syne,’ the beer was empty and our tongues were tired and we were running out of things to say. She gave a kiss to me as I got out and I watched her drive away. Just for the moment I was back at school and felt that old familiar pain. And as I turned to make my way back home, the snow turned into rain…
The writer and singer of the song, “Same Old Lang Syne,” was Dan Fogelberg. Sadly in 2007 he passed away at age 56 to prostate cancer. Interestingly, the street where the convenience store was located, Abingdon Street in Peoria, IL has been changed to “Fogelberg Parkway” in his memory.