Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Wear Your Ring

Today I dashed to the store to frantically stock up on a few necessities between my morning run/family breakfast and time to leave for the bus stop. In full efficiency mode, I found, selected, and picked up the items we needed. And then a song came on.

I'm plenty old enough to hear songs I loved in my youth while shopping. Bless Publix--they play the real songs, not muzak, so I still love to hear them. Today, the real (yay!) shopping music for (not quite) old people gave me a gift: "Anniversary Song" by the Cowboy Junkies. The first few notes hit my ear and something changed. Instead of just feeling frantic and efficient, I breathed. I smiled. I felt grateful.

I felt an overwhelming love for my husband.

Of course it's a beautiful love song. And, yes, he put it on a mixed tape for me. And I am so proud to share my life with him over a cup of coffee--and to wear his ring. But there's so much more.

As I left the store, I wanted to hear the song again. Now, I had never consciously heard a Cowboy Junkies song before I got to know my husband, so I don't consider myself a fan. But he loves them. So I hopped on iTunes to listen to the song again as I unpacked groceries--I discovered that we own TWELVE of their albums. I worried that I wouldn't find the song fast enough, but then, as I scrolled through the albums (113 songs!), I realized something amazing. I know all these songs.

Thoughts piled into my head on the heels of that realization. I'd heard maybe two Jimmy Buffet songs before I fell in love, now our joint property includes 37 of his albums--441 songs--and I know most of the words. Then we both learned to love country together when we lived in Nashville, home of the songwriters who produce some of the tightest, most powerful poetry sung these days.

I used to hate jazz, but how could I resist Big A. teaching S. to identify Louis Armstrong versus Louis Prima over pasta dinners? For crying out loud, she named her pink paper flamingo craft "Ipanema"....when she was two.

Anyone who knew Big A. in college knows his goal has always been to be able to think of a song he wants to hear, then play it. He spent hours combing through the used CD store in our small college town, not to mention the bargain bins in any music store we came near. At last count, we owned...one wall of CDs. Hundreds. In the "downtime" (aka the baby was sleeping so we couldn't go anywhere) after our second child was born, Big A. manually put all those CDs into the computer. I have no idea how much music we've added digitally since then.

I do know that I've mostly tolerated this hobby of my husband's. Frankly, sometimes I just want to make dinner, not take the time to select the perfect soundtrack for making dinner first. Now, with twenty years of making dinner together to look back on--dating, engaged, married, without and then with kids--I'm so grateful to have a beautiful score running through our life.

Jazz for making pasta, Gaelic Storm or Nickel Creek when I make big weekend breakfasts, INXS for one of his projects (S. kicked in time in utero), Patty Griffin for another, Mary Chapin Carpenter for S. as an infant, Jimmy Buffett for cleaning the pool and swimming, 80s hits (hair bands and alternative) for driving around with the kids--I could go on. Music has given our life so many shades and nuances.

And that's really why I love "Anniversary Song." Not only did my husband give me the gift of hearing that beautiful song, he gave me the gift of understanding the lyrics:

Well I never thought that I would be the one
To admit that the moon and the sun
Shine so much more brighter when
Seen through two pairs of eyes than
When seen through just one

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