Category Archives: Marriage

Momma’s Song

I have a friend.  I haven’t seen him in at least 40 years.  Though all these years have passed, I have nothing but fond memories of our childhood together…usually in the desert, climbing on rocks, playing in the dirt, getting too close to the campfire.

His name is Jack now, but he’ll always be Jackie to me.  Just like I’m Bob now, but I’ll always be Bobby to him.

I couldn’t believe it when I heard Jackie’s wife had died.  It was sudden and unexpected.  There he was, facing this tragedy, trying to tell their daughter where her mom had gone.  I couldn’t imagine the heartbreak.

For some reason, each time I thought about Jackie and his daughter, I couldn’t help thinking about playing momma’s song and singing along.  I had no idea what any of it meant, but still, this refrain continued…singing along to momma’s song.

A couple weeks later, I was sitting in an airport (as I often do nowadays) waiting for a delayed flight to take me home.  I decided to pull out a yellow pad and see where this refrain about momma’s song would take me.

Here’s what was on that yellow pad when they finally called us for our flight:

Momma’s Song

Looking back…

We were so complete

Everything was sweet until that day

we heard the news.

Our silence grew

How could this be?

 

We never knew until that day

The doctor said it was too late

Her momma was gone, all too fast

There was nothing the doc could do

He shook my hand and held me close.

 

My only thought was of her song

That one I used to sing along

It was our Endless Summer

It had just begun

And now, alone, I faced her setting sun.

 

Oh Lord, please won’t you play her song!

I only want to sing along

You know the one I need, won’t you help me sing along!

 

And there she was, our sweet Lorraine

I could see through all her tears

All she felt was numbness and pain

Who would ever play her song?

Especially now that momma’s gone.

 

Oh Lord, please won’t you play her song!

She only wants to sing along

You know the one she needs—won’t you help her sing along!

 

We sat and cried

I held her close

I felt so weak, but it was our sweet Lorraine

Who gave me strength.

There we sat, I had no plan

What should we do now that momma’s gone?

And there it was, her words so sweet

The melody we knew complete

She was singing to us once again

The sun was rising, her new day was born

We could feel her in those words

We couldn’t help but sing along.

 

It’s been many years since that day

It’s our sweet Lorraine’s wedding day.

As we started to dance the Father’s dance, my daughter cried

Oh Daddy please won’t you sing her song

The one momma used to sing

I only want to sing along

You know the one, won’t you help me sing along!

 

And so we danced, and her momma sang

Her words so clear, she’s singing now and that’s all we can hear

Oh, momma, we can hear your song

We’ll always sing along!

Photo by Olivier Fahrni on Unsplash

The Finest Gift

Bingo changed my life.  The Alamitos dorm held their annual bingo tournament in the Commons, and a friend told me I should go.  Sounded like fun to me.  What else was a college freshman to do just weeks before final exams?  But, we’d have to wait a few minutes for one of his friends who’d be joining us.

She can shop all over town, turn the gift shops upside down.
Finding something for her man with everything.

I noticed her eyes first.  Then her smile.  It was like a perfect slice of the sun walked in the room.

“Bob, this is Janet.  She lives in the girl’s wing on our floor.”  Suddenly, words were a little hard to find.  “She’s a CIS major too,” he said, breaking the silence.  Talking about your major was always a good ice breaker.

But it’s right behind her eyes and no matter what she buys
She’ll always be the finest gift she brings.

Playing bingo is similar to a movie from a first date perspective.  There’s not a lot of time for chit chat.  Not that this was a date.  After all, we just met.  I was starting to string words together again, just barely.  This was the one person who would change my life forever, but this was also bingo.  It all about the numbers.

I wasn’t thinking about anything except how to see her again.  Then it happened.  I got a BINGO!  The prize?  A week’s membership at the Jack LaLane Health Spa.  That was nice, but didn’t get me closer to seeing Janet again.  Lucky for me they had more memberships to hand out.  A few games later, with one of the memberships on the line, I could see that Janet was close to having bingo.  How awesome is that?

Every year it’s never missed, should be at the top of every list.
It can never be outdone, it’s the perfect gift for everyone.

I’m sure I was the most excited person in the room when Janet yelled, “BINGO!”  We had matching membership envelopes!  This was my opening.  We were only three or four weeks away from the end of spring quarter.  We’d be moving out of the dorms for the summer…Janet wouldn’t be living just down the hall.  I had to move fast.

It’s in everything you’ll see, scattered underneath our tree.
You can hear it in the carols that we sing.

The details are a bit fuzzy for me as I think about our visits to Jack LaLane’s.  I do remember sitting in the Jacuzzi (I presume, after we had done our workouts).  The more I talked with Janet, the more I knew she was THE ONE.  And yet, I only had a few weeks.  The abyss of summer break was fast approaching.  I had to stay focused, which was impossible whenever I was around her.

It’s the heart of love’s design and it appreciates with time.
And she’ll always be the finest gift she brings.

Janet and a group of her friends were planning a trip to the Griffith Park Observatory to celebrate the end of the school year.  I knew a few of her friends (some were neighbors on my wing).  But, I wasn’t exactly part of the Griffith Park trip plan.  What do you do in that situation  Invite yourself, of course.

We had a small convoy of cars that night.  I couldn’t believe I was in the passenger seat of Janet’s convertible as we approached the observatory.  This was like a date, but not quite.  We were part of a big group.  Everything was closed at the observatory (college students work the late schedule), but we walked around the grounds and checked out the stars for quite a while.  I remember how the lights reflected off Janet’s eyes more than anything else.

Our road trip wasn’t over.  We stopped at a Tommy’s Burgers on the way back.  My first chili burger, on my first (almost) date with Janet.

Every year it’s never missed, should be at the top of every list.
It can never be outdone, it’s the perfect gift for everyone.

Only six weeks later, we were in my parent’s Toyota 4×4 pickup, following my family down to Gonzaga Bay in Baja…about 100 miles south of San Felipe.  Why not go to the middle of nowhere in Baja, off road, with this (awesome) guy you met playing bingo?  Janet is an adventurer, to say the least.

Now it’s not in any store and she could never give me more
Then her promise of the finest gift she brings.

Three years later, we shared our first Christmas as a married couple.

Christmas_1988

Our adventure continues to this day.

The finest gift is truly the one I receive every day (including Christmas).

Her love.

I know her love’s the finest gift she brings.

Clint Black sure got it right:  http://youtu.be/wGe96bEL7B8

 

Recipe for a Long, Happy, and Fulfilling Marriage

We have two daughters. Our oldest, Julianne, married Steven nearly two years ago. Our youngest, Jennifer, is marrying Luke this weekend. We couldn’t be prouder of our daughters, or the men they’ve chosen.

We started a tradition of compiling a cookbook filled with recipes from our family and friends for the newly married couple. The following is the recipe I submitted for both of our daughter’s cookbooks:

Now that you’ve said “I do,” you’ll find that the ingredients in this recipe are a series of questions that begin with “How do I…”

  • Serve my spouse?
  • Learn that the words “I,” “me,” and “my” are far less rewarding than “we,” “us,” and “our?”
  • Ensure that my goals are in line with OUR goals?
  • Ensure that OUR goals are the drivers of OUR life together?

 

  • Enjoy the simple pleasures with my spouse?
  • Gather new experiences that I can share with my spouse?
  • Genuinely laugh with my spouse, often?

 

  • Challenge myself and my spouse to grow individually, and together?
  • Provide the patience and space my spouse needs to grow independently?
  • Take advantage of the space my spouse provides to grow independently?

 

  • Understand my spouse’s challenges and sources of frustration?
  • Understand what makes my spouse happiest?
  • Take pleasure in my spouse’s accomplishments?

 

  • Communicate openly with my spouse?
  • Embrace the opportunity to see things from my spouse’s point-of-view?
  • Think of life’s curve balls as OUR opportunities to grow, not obstacles?

 

  • Ensure that our new family is a vital part of the extended families that we each join when we get married?

 

  • Take care of myself physical, emotionally, and spiritually so I am physically, emotionally, and spiritually attractive to my spouse?

 

  • Make sure my spouse knows how:
    • my love for him/her grows everyday?
    • special he/she is?
    • special I feel around him/her?

 

  • Provide the most life-giving environment possible for my spouse, everyday?

The quantity and mix of each ingredient is up to you. The secret is that NONE of these ingredients can be ignored, or taken for granted…EVER. This isn’t a corn bread recipe where it’s okay to skip the egg. Followed properly, this recipe will last a lifetime.

Enjoy your journey!