Music moves us. It inspires us. It links us back to unforgettable times in our lives. Some good. Some bad. But none the less, driving in your car suddenly you hear a song that transports you back to your prom, or first kiss, or family vacation. My catalog of songs capable of taking me to specific moments in my life is enormous. It would be hard to write about all the songs that have I have a visceral reaction to in one shot. Instead, as I hear one of them and the fires of my memory are stoked, I will tell their tales. Besides, half the fun is stumbling across one of those songs by accident while you’re stuck in rush hour traffic on your way to work (it gives you something else to think about instead of going Michael Douglas in ‘Falling Down’ on the Honda in front of you). It is with this thought in mind I play one of the songs from the soundtrack to my life…
Weddings. Brides to be have been known to put more thought and planning in to their weddings than the Allied Forces did for D-Day. Everything from the proper dress train length measured down to the millimeter and the perfectly painted pastel bridesmaid dresses to the fresh cut flowers picked from an organic farm somewhere exotic and on it goes to the multi-tiered cakes that put the engineering of suspension bridges to shame. It’s a fabulous day that most women will put seven or eight times more effort in to than the day actually lasts (unless you’re Andy from ‘The Office’). Of all the things the grooms are subjected to (and yet have no official say over) the one item on the things the (her) wedding needs is the perfect song.
Wrapped around the slow melodies and the lyrical sentimentality of a Hallmark card, lies the keystone of every happy couple’s first dance. And this is where ‘Time in a Bottle’ comes in to play as a part of my life.
Alicia and I came to the decision to dance our first dance as man and wife to Jim Croce’s ‘Time in a Bottle’ after deliberations rivaling the Health Care debate. Before we sat down with our DJ to sift through our playlist and what could and what could not be requested we had the daunting task of hashing out our first dance song (Out was Billy Idol’s Mony Mony. The thought of my 70 year old grandmother singing ‘Hey Hey what, get laid get…I think you know the rest, with my drunk friends was a little too much to handle). My (soon to be) wife had Shania Twain, some country band, and Celine Dion on her list. I had Metallica (it was a joke that Alicia found no humor in whatsoever).
We were attempting to find the song that said what we both felt without being completely and overtly sappy. I threw out a suggestion of Jim Croce’s ‘Time in a Bottle’. She initially scoffed. Up until that very moment, Alicia’s knowledge of Jim Croce’s catalog of songs were limited to ‘Bad Leroy Brown’ (who is in fact meaner than a junkyard dog) and ‘You Don’t Mess Around with Jim’ (remember not to tug on Superman’s cape). I whisked her into my 1999 VW Jetta, put in my Jim Croce tape in (believe it or not there was a time before Satellite radio and Mp3 players in cars) and played the song. And as the last lines of the song were sung…
“I’ve looked around enough to know…That you’re the one I want to go…Through time with”
Celine Dion, that country band, and Shania Twain were pushed to the side for a song that encapsulated all we had felt. A song that never says the words ‘Love’ or ‘We made it’ or any other cliched rock ballad or pop song lyric and yet conveyed the devotion we both felt every time we looked at each other or when our hands even gently brushed together.
April 1st, 2000 we are introduced as husband and wife to a few hundred of our closest family and friends and our first dance is upon us. The lights went down along the perimeter of people and spotlights shone down on the 2 x 2 square pieces of the Stokesay Castle dance floor to highlight Alicia and I. And as Jim Croce crooned, I lost myself in her. My senses were flooded with everything from the awe of the day, to how beautiful she looked at that moment to the smell of her perfume. And every lyric fit with the emotions of the day. There was no one else I could (to this day) imagine sharing my life with. Everything felt right.
“If I could save time in a bottle…The first thing that I’d like to do…Is to save everyday…Till Eternity passes away…Just to spend them with you”
“If I could make days last forever…If words could make wishes come true…I’d save every day like a treasure and then…Again, I would spend them with you.”
I am not a romantic. I rarely do flowers. I am not here to display my affection for my wife by slobbering all over her in public and yet I have my moments (set aside for birthdays, anniversaries and other female recognized holidays manditory for a husband’s survival). But the soundtrack of my life has ‘Time in a Bottle’ in it because it takes me back to 10 years ago when I did flowers occassionally. When I may have been a little more romantic. Back to my ’99 Jetta as Alicia and I leaned in closely to the tape deck to listen to our song. To my wedding day and the dance floor as I held my new wife in my arms. Every lyric to the song, no matter where I am when I am listening, fills my senses again with the awe of that day and the depth of love I was in and still am in with my wife.