Sunday, May 10, 2009

Music About Love Through the Years

As I mentioned in a prior post, I drive to Cape Cod to visit my parents every 2nd or 3rd Saturday. It's a 2-hour drive each way. Our Honda Element has a good sound system and you can listen to your iPod through the car's speakers.

During yesterday's trip, I heard one of my absolute favorite songs, performed by Steve Goodman, "The Dutchman." The lyrics are great and the instrumental accompaniment is perfect for the song.

The Dutchman's not the kind of man
Who keeps his thumb jammed in the dam that holds his dreams in
That's the secret only Margaret knows
When Amsterdam is golden in the summer
Margaret brings him breakfast and she believes him
He thinks the tulips bloom beneath the snow
He's mad as he can be
But Margaret only sees that sometimes
Sometimes she sees her unborn children in his eyes

CHORUS: Let us go to the banks of the ocean
Where the walls rise above the Zuyder Zee
Long ago I used to be a young man
And dear Margaret remembers that for me

The Dutchman still wears wooden shoes
His cap and coat are patched with the love that Margaret sewed there
Sometimes he thinks he's still in Rotterdam
And he watches the tug boats down canals
Calls out to them when he thinks he knows the captain
And Margaret comes to take him home again
Through unforgiving streets that trip him though she holds his arm
Sometimes he thinks he's alone and he calls her name

The winter whirls the windmills 'round
She winds his muffler tighter
They sit in the kitchen
Some tea with whiskey keeps away the dew
She makes the bed up singing some old love song
She learned when it was very new
He hums a line or two
They hum together in the dark
The Dutchman falls asleep and Margaret blows the candles out

I loved this song when I was young and had no notion of love loved over the years as we age and how that love is layered with remembrances of our loved one through the years. Now that I have a growing awareness of all that, it resonates so much more with me.

My love for Skip includes remembrances of the bold 25-year old who picked me up in a bar one August evening almost 28 years ago. The real party girl with the quick wit and devilish grin. (She still has the wit but is a bit slower to show off that great smile.) The golfer who taught me the world's stupidest sport so we could infuriate the other golfers behind us with our slow play. The woman who chafed at working in an office for an insurance company, leaving that behind to become a bartender and then a chef. She cooked me great meals! The independent woman. The friendly, smart, funny woman who drew people to her and then invited them into the hospitality of our home for great evenings of wonderful food, good wine and lots of laughs.

If you were an archeologist and could dig through the history of our years together, you'd find the love there, but you'd also find the inexorable influence of MS. How its demands twisted our existence. You'd see how more and more of our lives were given over to basic maintenance because basic maintenance took so much bloody time. How so many possibilities for the future were cut off because of the progression of the disease. You'd be angry to see how MS robbed Skip of her independence and gave her so much to fear, including her future.

Through all those layers, though, you'd see how we'd managed to keep it together, to feel privileged and lucky despite the encroachment of MS. You'd see that we stopped entertaining but still managed to meet new friends who mean so much to us. You'd see that I did the basic maintenance tasks for two, but that we could often use that time together to laugh and "be" together rather than just have one be nursemaid to the other. You'd see that we'd manage to make a lasting commitment to one another, no matter what comes. You'd see the fun and fireworks we've had over the years.


Herrad said...

Hi Cranky,

A beautiful love story, yours and Skip's.

Got quite a wet face reading this and could hardly see to read.

Big hugs to you both.



Andy said...

Beautiful story Cranky, thanks for sharing it, and your life with Skip, it is appreciated.


Cranky said...

Herrad and Andy - Thanks so much for your notes! If I do say so myself, I loved this post too. It's my favorite of my relatively short posting life.

Anonymous said...

OMG, that was the most amazing thing I have read. I am a little more emotional than usual today and I could hardly handle the emotion that you shared so freely. I have always thought of you as amazing and now the proof is in the post.

Cranky said...

Anonymous - thanks for your wonderful comments! Feel free to stop by and provide these great compliments whenever you feel inclined.

Anonymous said...

We'll stop by next week.
Good job lady!

Cranky said...

Can't wait!