Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Old Long Since

I remember my first trip to England in 1977. I had come over to compete in the moth World Championship regatta at Hayling Island. But as a vacation to myself I had arrived five weeks early to take in some sightseeing. With my bicycle, a couple of panniers of clothes, a tent and a sleeping bag, and two hundred dollars in my pocket I set off on a cycle tour of the UK. I worked up the western third of the island through the Lake District. The most northern point was just the other side of Hadrian's Wall on the Scottish border. Eventually I made it back down to the south coast near Lymington. One of my tasks was to arrange the offloading and transport of the three Magnum2s that we shipped to Portsmouth. I don't remember who in the Lymington Sail Club assisted, but the boats were eventually dropped of at the club allowing us Yanks to get in some practice before heading to Hayling Island.

But before Richard and Tommy had arrived I was the sole American in a group of mothies. I don't exactly remember the occasion, but there was a party with excessive beer involved, some late hours, and mothies and their accents from all over the British Isles. I found myself in the unusual position of translating for some Brits the English words and phrases that others couldn't quite decipher. It was apparent to me that the variety of accents was so broad that it took someone like me who had just struggled to figure out dialects and accents to act as a translator. (I was sure that folks had told me to visit the "like district" before I realized the correct word.)

So when you raise your glasses tonight, and sing those crazy Scottish lyrics, know that the fact that most folks really don't know what they're saying is completely normal.

Happy New Year. Enjoy Dan Fogelberg, one of the best singer/song writers of my generation. Too bad had died last year from cancer.

Same Old Lang Syne, by Dan Fogelberg (1980)

Met my old lover in the grocery store
The snow was falling Christmas eve
I stole behind her in the frozen foods
And I touched her on the sleeve

She didn’t recognize the face at first
But then her eyes flew open wide
She went to hug me and she spilled her purse
And we laughed until we cried.

We took her groceries to the checkout stand
The food was totalled up and bagged
We stood there lost in our embarrassment
As the conversation dragged.

We went to have ourselves a drink or two
But couldn’t find an open bar
We bought a six-pack at the liquor store
And we drank it in her car.

We drank a toast to innocence
We drank a toast to now
And tried to reach beyond the emptiness
But neither one knew how.

She said she’d married her an architect
Who kept her warm and safe and dry
She would have liked to say she loved the man
But she didn’t like to lie.

I said the years had been a friend to her
And that her eyes were still as blue
But in those eyes I wasnt sure if I saw
Doubt or gratitude.

She said she saw me in the record stores
And that I must be doing well
I said the audience was heavenly
But the traveling was hell.

We drank a toast to innocence
We drank a toast to now
And tried to reach beyond the emptiness
But neither one knew how.

We drank a toast to innocence
We drank a toast to time
Reliving in our eloquence
Another auld lang syne...

The beer was empty and our tongues were tired
And running out of things to say
She gave a kiss to me as I got out
And I watched her drive away.

Just for a moment I was back at school
And felt that old familiar pain
And as I turned to make my way back home
The snow turned into rain ---

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