Columnist Bob Bridge
“One person caring about another represents life‘s greatest value.”
- Jim Rohn
It was 1989 and I was in dire need of a haircut. Fortunately, that meant only a step out the front door of the newspaper and a few strides westward into Fred’s Barber Shop.
The conversation of the day focused on basketball. Dan Bush’s BNL boys team had gained statewide recognition as had Pete Pritchett’s Lady Stars. As always, Bob Knight’s Hoosiers were a hot topic on the college circuit.
Terry Skillman had just trimmed the strands of hair hanging over my ears when he leaned down and whispered softly, “Have you heard the new song by Kathy Mattea?”
I had not.
The only tune I knew by Kathy Mattea was “Eighteen Wheels and a Dozen Roses.“ It had won some prestigious awards, but the lyrics left me unimpressed.
Terry looked me in the eye. “This song will make you cry,” he insisted.
“Highly improbable,“ I replied with a chuckle.
The next day, while taking a short road trip, I began fidgeting with the radio dial. I finally settled on an “easy listening” station out of Indianapolis.
A lady with a velvet and somewhat sexy voice introduced Kathy Mattea’s new tune:
“Where’ve You Been?”
This must be the one Terry likes, I thought.
I listened attentively to the first verse and each magical and mesmerizing line that followed. Kathy sang about an elderly couple, their lifetime devotion to each other, how they were separated via medical misfortunes, then were eventually reunited in a nursing home.
As the song ended I pulled off the side of the highway and reached for a tissue to wipe the tears from my eyes. I’m not a soap opera sort of guy, but this tale was so poignant, so powerful.
The song was written by Kathy’s husband Jon Vezner and fellow composer Don Henry. I loved it that first time I heard it, and I love it just as much today.
Such devotion for a soulmate.
Of course that was more than 30 years ago. Times - and the family unit - have changed.
Nursing homes have been in the news lately. Much has been negative. Often, through no fault of their own, they have served as breeding grounds for this vile virus. Many have been forced to close their doors to visitors.
Getting old is no picnic. The loss of previously sharp mental and physical skills is frustrating and frightening.
Sadly, even our most meaningful recollections fade into the realm of the forgotten.
Still, I can remember one thing. You were right, Mr. Skillman. That song makes me cry.
It is a genuine tearjerker with lyrics that resonate more strongly today than ever before.
Love, which is patient and kind, was designed for eternity.
Never fail to express your love for another human being. Connect … while you can.
Columnist Bob Bridge welcome comments at 812–276-9646 or email@example.com.