And just like magic, there he was, standing on the mountain near the bridge where we had kissed that day. I ran toward him, my heart so full at his return. My faith had been justified and love won again. But the closer I came, the further he drifted, until I was alone on the bridge once more. Though it was winter, my arms were full of flowers, and I threw them down to the river, one by one. The dark water grabbed them greedily and swirled the blooms away.
I woke up crying. When will I be rid of the ghost of Billy Joe?
Written for the Daily Echo and inspired by Bobbie Gentry’s song “Ode to Billie Joe.”
As isolation ended, I began my search for a partner. I had a clear picture in my mind of my perfect soul mate. He’d be cuddly and sweet, always there to listen to my issues, and never cheat. I went down to the pound and there he was waiting for me: my Prince Charming, in the form of an adorable kitty! He knew just how to make me smile. 😻
The old man hobbles along the path, clutching his guitar and a bouquet of red roses. He is coming to visit her grave again.
The flowers are for her favorite color and the music is for her love of dancing. Once, he showed me a photo of her holding their grandchild, and her wrinkled face glowed with joy. I know he doesn’t see her as old though—he sees a dancing girl in a red dress skipping through the mists of time.
He places the flowers on her stone and begins to play “Spanish Harlem.”
Everyone on the street called him Stone. He was tough, ruthless, and got the job done. He didn’t seek out violence, but when it became necessary he acted quickly and efficiently. When she came along, broken and beautiful, they named her Butterfly. Stone protected her, for he remembered how it was to be fragile. Wherever she flitted, he stopped to admire her gold-dusted delicacy. But the jealous ones plotted to drive her away with lies. After she left, Stone crumbled to pieces and scattered himself in the places she’d been, his grief mingling with the ethereal traces of love.
What goes up Must come down, Or so I’ve heard– Like butterflies and birds, Soufflés and expectations. Yet clouds float on and on, And rainbows go round and round. You can’t count The grains of sand; Likewise, my love expands To fill the galaxies. This infinite love for my children, And their children, Is as uncountable as the stars, Immeasurable, Timeless, Endless.
“Strangers in the Night” was a No. 1 single from Frank Sinatra’s 1966 album of the same name. He won two Grammy Awards for this album, plus another Grammy for album of the year. The song itself has been certified platinum. The lyrics were written by Charles Singleton and Eddie Snyder. It has been covered many times.
This song is about people falling in love at first sight. Whether or not you believe this happens in real life, it certainly has inspired many songs, poems, books, and movies. I thought it happened to me in 2016, but I was wrong. After I got to know the man better, he turned out to be a manipulative jerk. But the idea remains alive, tantalizing and romantic. It’s much more exciting to imagine falling for someone immediately like Jesse and Marie did in When Harry Met Sally than taking a decade to figure out someone is right for you, which is the story of the title characters.
Strangers in the night, exchanging glances, wondering in the night, what were the chances, we’d be sharing love before the night was through…
Many times, the initial attraction simply leads to another one night stand. There have been a zillion words written about this too. Yet, it can be difficult to completely give up hope that the next one will work out, just like in this song.
And ever since that night, we’ve been together, lovers at first sight, in love forever. It turned out so right, for strangers in the night…
Melanie has some new Q’s for us this week, so let’s get cracking!
1. What is your favorite type of cookie (they’re called biscuits in Europe I believe)?
Omgosh cookies! Where do I begin? Okay, so I love the regular Tollhouse chocolate chip recipe on the back of their chip bag, but also my friend Cathy makes killer chocolate chip cookies with almond flour. Then there are PB chocolate chip cookies, so good (try Trader Joe’s!). And I am a big fan of regular peanut butter cookies too. Love buttery spritz holiday cookies. But you know what? Pepperidge Farm used to have a Vienna cookie in its “city line,” which was a coffee-flavored cookie sandwich with mocha filling… utterly divine. BUT NATURALLY THEY DISCONTINUED IT. 😡😡😡
(See my Monday Peeve on this topic.)
2. If you could choose one age and remain that forever, what would it be and why?
Well, I kinda liked being 33, with my two darling daughters, my mom around to help, and a tolerable marriage. But there was a short period of time in the fall of 2016 (I was 55) when I thought I’d found the love of my life… 💔
3. Do you have a traditional drink during the holiday season?
No, but I like Trader Joe’s spiced cider.
4. Are you able to still believe in holiday magic as you did when you were a child?
This is a have you stopped beating your wife type of question, so let’s unpack it. I did not believe in “holiday magic” when I was a child, or in any kind of magic ever. This gets people upset, but idk why. I seemed able to enjoy things just fine without thinking there was anything supernatural going on. But in fact, I liked holidays better after I became a mom when I could share them with my kids.
5. Gratitude section…
I’m grateful for all the hard work people put in to get covid vaccines ready for us. Thank you! 💖
Thanks go out to our musical host Jim Adams for putting together these great SLS prompts. For today, I chose “Billy Don’t Be A Hero” by Paper Lace. While the title doesn’t contain the keyword, the lyrics have both “fiancée” and “wife.” The song was written by Mitch Murray and Peter Callander, and was first recorded in 1974 by Paper Lace. It was a hit for the group in the UK, and that same year it was also a hit in the US for Bo Donaldson & the Heywoods.
The lyrics tell an interesting story. We hear them from a bystander’s perspective, as he discusses how Billy’s fiancée (not named, so we will call her “BF”) feels as Billy leaves for war (we assume it’s Vietnam, but that’s not specified). The observer says BF tells Billy not to be a hero because she wants him to come back. The most important thing to her is that he stays safe so they can get married. Naturally, he doesn’t listen to her and dies. At the end, the observer says she threw away the letter informing her of his death, implying she was angry and/or didn’t care any longer, since Billy hadn’t listened.
I’m always curious about the observer: was he romantically interested in BF? Is he now her husband and thus privy to this info? Or is he merely observing from afar the whole time? It’s easy to sympathize with BF… she loved Billy and wanted to protect him. But I wonder if she were more in love with an idea… the idea of marriage and Billy as her husband. Did she even know the real Billy? That guy jumped up to try to help his fellow soldiers. That’s who he was. So many times we fail to see the real person behind our idea of who we want them to be.
Billy Don’t Be A Hero
The marchin’ band came down along Main Street The soldier blues fell in behind I looked across and there I saw Billy Waiting to go and join the line And with her head upon his shoulder His young and lovely fiancee From where I stood I saw she was cryin’ And through her tears I heard her say Billy, don’t be a hero, don’t be a fool with your life Billy, don’t be a hero, come back and make me your wife And as he started to go she said, Billy, keep your head low Billy, don’t be a hero, come back to me The soldier blues were trapped on a hillside The battle raging all around The sergeant cried, We’ve got to hang on, boys! We’ve got to hold this piece of ground I need a volunteer to ride up And bring us back some extra men And Billy’s hand was up in a moment Forgettin’ all the words she said She said Billy, don’t be a hero, don’t be a fool with your life Billy, don’t be a hero, come back and make me your wife And as he started to go she said, Billy, keep your head low Billy, don’t be a hero, come back to me I heard his fiancee got a letter That told how Billy died that day The letter said that he was a hero She should be proud he died that way I heard she threw that letter away …