Tuesday, June 3, 2008

If I Should Fall Behind.......

Pete Townshend and Ronnie Lane--"My Baby Gives It Away" (mp3)
Bruce Springsteen--"If I Should Fall Behind" (mp3)

Last week, Robin and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. It was a low-key affair, dinner using a gift certificate at the Meeting Place, children with us, quiet evening. We are proud to have been married this long, but the ongoing journey seems more important than the milestone. This is a time of life when children in college and high school dictate most of what we spend and much of what we do, and so to isolate a marriage celebration away from family right now didn't seem right. By the way, just so you don't think I'm some cheap shit, I did buy her a Nikon.

Twenty-five years ago this week, we were living in Morganfield, Kentucky, a town known for its Pizza Hut and not much else. Robin worked for the Kentucky Department of Human Services as a social worker; I was jobless, but drove down this week to interview for this job. And, miraculously, got it, apparently because the Academic Dean at the time and I shared a love of bluegrass guitar and possession of Ivy League diplomas. That's how the world works.

While Robin worked, I spent days with a box of literature books for the fall and free HBO. After I dropped Robin off in the morning, I'd stop off at the Piggly Wiggly for some of their freshly-made doughnuts and head back to the cocoon of our small, underfurnished apartment. Most days, Rocky III was on, and most days, I would watch it. The pinnacle of Mr. T's career. One of the great times of my life--to have a job but not to have to work for almost three months, just to have to read a bunch of books, and to watch Mr. T, over and over, taunt Rocky by saying to Adrian (Talia Shire), of all people, "Yo, why don't you come over here and I'll show you what a real man is like!" It still makes me laugh.

Saturday nights, Robin's niece and nephew would come sleep over at our apartment. We'd have a big night out at the Pizza Hut, Robin would bathe the children, then we'd all get up and meet the rest of the clan at the Lisman Cumberland Presbyterian Church in the morning where Robin and I taught Sunday school to about 4 children. Sunday lunch at her parents.

Those times are long, long gone. We came here within two months of getting married and so our celebrations of marriage and my years of service at this school are in almost perfect sync. It is difficult to celebrate one without the other; indeed, at times, it has been difficult to see the two marriages as separate. But both have been good.

Pete Townshend and Ronnie Lane's casual album Rough Mix contains any number of small gems, including the song above, which cleverly both mocks and uplifts the sexual relationship in a marriage. "If I Should Fall Behind," one of my favorite relationship songs, comes from one of Springsteen's forays away from the E-Street Band, Lucky Town. The band features American Idol judge Randy Jackson. Both songs are available at Itunes.


Billy said...

Mighty impressive, Mr. Bob. I'm glad Clubber Lang is a part of your marriage. The Macarena is forever tied to ours, so I can't exactly mock too heavily. Congrats on the quarter-century. And the Nikon.

Chris Carpenter said...

Congrats on 25 years.

"Nowhere to Run" is one of my favorite Ronnie Lane songs - a tragically underrated songwriter.