We have all had those nights. Lots of beer in the fridge and a group of new friends with no where pressing to be. They sit in a living room with the fire crackling, talking, reminiscing, telling stories.. Getting to know each other… Some times the stories prove how small the world can be with shared experiences, or unknown commonalities or sometimes the stories prompt even crazier coincidences.
We had a night like that in December of 1980. I was 23 and played on a women’s soccer team. E moved into a house in Point Grey with two of the women on the team. Our coach, newly arrived from Liverpool was with us that night. E was still unpacking his belongings. His entire personal worth at the time was a five poster king size water-bed, a stereo and 450 record albums sorted alphabetically in red milk crates. Jan was from Toronto, Brigitte was on a student visa from Ireland. There were five of us in the living room watching E set up his music.
When E has had a few to drink he likes to take his records out and play favorite songs from one album at a time, like a DJ. He had had a few to drink. The evening progressed, the fire burned, the music continued and the stories more nostalgic. Perhaps there was some smoke in the air.. Our coach spoke of how in his teens he was a bouncer at a club in Liverpool when the Beatles would play on a Saturday night. Talk continued of our favorite Beatle, our favorite song and of course, the night they first appeared on Ed Sullivan. That prompted a conversation about the Paul McCartney conspiracy. E pulled out Revolution 9 and played it backward. “turn me on dead man” and Strawberry Fields Forever where you can purportedly hear John Lennon say “I buried Paul”….. E took requests and played all of our favorites Eventually all songs were listened to on most of the albums (E has them all) and we fell asleep around 5 AM dreaming of Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds…
The next morning we stumbled into the kitchen, poured our coffees and turned on the radio to hear that John Lennon had been shot dead in front of the Dakota at 11:15 pm (8:15 our time) the night before. It still gives me chills….
When I was in town last week I downloaded some music for my IPod. I haven’t added any new music for years and although I have hundreds to choose from I always seem to listen to the same ten songs and it grows tiresome. I particularly like one of the new ones I found.. But I have a problem with one of the lyrics. You see when I was twenty-three and I listed to the Paul McCartney pledge to still love me when I was sixty-four, I thought that was fine… sixty-four.. that is forever!!! and for E with an an affection for the Who, was never concerned with the lyrics My Generation.. “I hope I die before I get old” … We listened to that music and didn’t give the age references a second thought… We were young..
I still consider us young. I am 57 and E is 59. Here are the lyrics of the new song I like
Ed Sheeran.. “Thinking out loud”
When your legs don’t work like they used to before
And I can’t sweep you off of your feet
Will your mouth still remember the taste of my love
Will your eyes still smile from your cheeks
And darling I will be loving you ’til we’re 70
And baby my heart could still fall as hard at 23
And I’m thinking ’bout how people fall in love in mysterious ways
Maybe just the touch of a hand
Oh me I fall in love with you every single day
And I just wanna tell you I am
So honey now
Take me into your loving arms
Kiss me under the light of a thousand stars
Place your head on my beating heart
I’m thinking out loud
Maybe we found love right where we are
For some reason now that age pledge really seems a little stingy. How hard would it have been for him to say. “And darling I will be loving you ’til our nineties”?