Monday, September 8, 2008

Starting Out, Looking Back

There are many issues on the table right now: the presidential race and the war in Iraq, for two, but neither of those things are on my mind this morning. This morning I am thinking of my god-daughter, Maggie.
Maggie recently became engaged to a young man named Benny. Maggie and Benny: old fashioned names, and these are old fashioned kids. They met, they dated, they became engaged. This winter they will marry.
My husband and I celebrated our 29th wedding anniversary the other day. We hardly had time to notice it whizzing by. Such is life.
Not everyone makes it so far together. Stuff happens. There are good reasons why some marriages need to be put to sleep, in mercy, for the good of all concerned, and people who stay together don’t do so because they are happy, happy, happy all the time. You can’t tell that to kids who are just starting out, and you don’t need to. It will come to them, over time.
That said, for the last few months I have been thinking about what old fashioned kids Maggie and Benny are, and I wondered if a song would come to me for them.
The other morning a song did come, and I kinda thought it was a good one. My cousin Nancy was here at the time, and she liked it. “There won’t be a dry eye in the place,” she said.
I was going to sing it at the kids’ engagement party, but ended up not feeling well that day and stayed home, so I have not sung it for them yet, so I don’t know yet if Nancy and I are the only ones who like it.
A few days after I wrote the song, I thought about how this song could be seen by some people. I have this paranoid fear that some people might construe it to be an anthem for the “one man + one woman = marriage, period,” crowd. That’s not why it was written. That is not what it is meant to be. This song is a spontaneous wish and prayer for the happiness of these two particular kids, who deserve all the best – which is, after all, what we wish for most couples starting life together.
That’s the trouble with writing a song and not singing it in public – you can second guess yourself, and you really have no idea how it’s going to go over. Oh yeah, and it’s going to run in the Loop in an earlier version – this version has had some tweaking. Songs always get tweaked.
For whatever it’s worth, here’s the lyric of the song for Maggie and Benny:

When an old fashioned boy
Meets an old fashioned girl
And they recognize each other
In this new fashioned world
An old fashioned romance
Can spring into bloom
Now she’s an old fashioned bride
He’s an old fashioned groom

And all the women cry
And the men in silence stand
As they place each other’s lives
Into each other’s hands
Saying old fashioned vows:
“I’ll stay with you all my life”
An old fashioned husband
An old fashioned wife

The old can’t tell the young
How life can really be
You wouldn’t want to know
You’ll have to wait and see
You’ll live it now together
The joy, and work, and tears
An old fashioned couple
Together through the years

We give to you our blessings
We hold you in our prayers
Our hearts are full of love
For our children standing there
We look at where we’ve been
While you look ahead with joy
Our old fashioned girl
Our old fashioned boy

And all the women cry
And the men in silence stand
We hold each other’s lives
In each other’s hands
Understanding what it means:
“I’ll stay with you all my life”
Like an old fashioned husband
And an old fashioned wife
An old fashioned husband
And an old fashioned wife
© 2008 Mary Litchfield Tuel

Every blessing to you, Maggie and Benny.
Love, Your God Mama


M. L. Place Badarak said...

lovely -
It made me cry a little too...

Maggie Anne said...

haha. glad to see you slipped that copyright in there...