"Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity." ~ Gilda Radner

Monday, December 17, 2007

A Dark Day For Die-Hard Romantics

Still reeling from the news...

Singer Dan Fogelberg dead at 56. Prostate cancer. He'd been battling it for three years.

"He didn't rely on the volume of his voice to convey his emotions; instead, they came through in the soft, tender delivery and his poignant lyrics," reported Yahoo news. "Songs like "Same Old Lang Syne" — in which a man reminisces after meeting an old girlfriend by chance during the holidays — became classics not only because of his performance, but for the engaging story line, as well."

Engaging story line, indeed. "Same Old Lang Syne" is the quintessential anthem, really, for die-hard romantics...

Met my old lover in the grocery store
The snow was falling Christmas Eve
I stole behind her in the frozen foods
And I touched her on the sleeve.

I know. I know. Just a few posts ago I complained that the local soft rock radio station had played just about enough Same Old Lang Syne. That I'd had my fill of that Christmas song, thank you very much.

I was lying.

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.

Truth is, of all Dan Fogelberg's greatest hits, Same Old Syne is my absolute favorite. I crank it up when it comes on the radio and I am tooling along in the car...the best part of the local rock station playing 24/7 Christmas music is that Same Old Lang Syne gets played a lot...even tho' the song is guaranteed to make me weep -- and occasionally wince.

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.

I would even go so far as to say that Same Old Lang Syne is right up there with The Way We Were in my book of all-time favorite songs from back in the day...

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.

I don't know how often, in real life, former lovers just happen to run into each other at the grocery store. I do know of some instances, however, where people have gone to great lengths to find and reunite with their lost loves. There are books written about the subject...web sites dedicated to reuniting lost loves that chronicle the good, the bad and the ugly that can and does ensue when former lovers revisit the past.

It is a storyline that is not only engaging, but is as old as romance itself. Same Old Lang Syne is just one of those songs that tears at one's heart strings.

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.

Have you ever wondered what ever happened to that special someone you knew once upon a time, long, long ago? Or, have you ever wondered if that special someone from back in the day ever wonders what happened to you?

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
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.

I recently read in AARP Magazine (yes, AARP Magazine) that the new mid-life crisis for us Baby Boomers is coming to terms with the road not taken, as it were...wrestling with that "R" word. You know...regret.

According to the AARP article, the "Hit Parade" or five most common life regrets involve education (one's misgivings about not attending college or grad school); career (misgivings regarding one's chosen field), romance (long-lost loves, unrequited affections, ill-advised affairs and marriages gone sour); family (not spending enough time with one's children or making poor child care choices); and the self (disappointment in one's own abilities, attitudes and behaviors.)

Have you ever wondered, regarding any particular life passage, what if...?"

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...

"Make the most of your regrets," Henry David Thoreau once advised. "To regret deeply is to live afresh."

The beer was empty and our tongues were tired
And running out of things to say
She gave a kiss to me as I got out
And I watched her drive away

The AARP article also notes that a life without regrets is not a realistic answer for most of us, that, after all, the hard-earned lessons of our sins and slip-ups make us who we are. " 'Maybe all one can do,' as playwright Arthur Miller once wrote, 'is hope to end up with the right regrets.' "

Some interesting food for thought for those of us entering the Regretting Years, as we now and again feel what the article describes as "the sharp sting of regret" that teaches us where we went wrong.

Just for a 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...

Thank you, Dan Fogelberg, for Same Old Lang Syne.

Of course, from this day forward, Same Old Syne will never be the same for us die-hard romantics. Knowing Dan is gone, the song will seem even more poignant.

Inevitably, hearing that song, that soft, tender voice, will invoke even more weeping, more wincing, more tearing at the heart strings, than usual.



beth said...

That has to be one of your best blogs yet! Thank you for putting into words what alot of us "baby boomers" ,who love that wonderful voice of Dan
Fogelberg, feel!

Love and hugs,

annie said...


I just keep watching the video...thanks for sharing your thoughts. Very sad day...

Miss you...
Miss our youth...:)

Stoney said...

Love Dan and the song....takes you to where feelings are real and raw. Thanks for putting it into words - or thanks for pouring salt into open wounds in my soul!!! LOL You know what I mean!

annie said...

Ah, yes, Stoney...you are most welcome...a litle more salt with those wounds? LOL... Knew you would love it...Merry Christmas...Merry Flipping Christmas...LOL

Anonymous said...

Oink, oink!

Anonymous said...

ok, ok....whatever that means...