Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Truth About Companionship

If my wife did not have the misfortune of being married to a real a##hole (and trust me I know him and I know of which I speak), then perhaps we would spend more evenings as we spent Sunday evening. On Sunday the Missus and I took a ride down the Parkway to Red Bank. After eating a wholly forgettable meal at a Thai restaurant located in The Galleria on Bridge Street, we ambled across Bridge Street to the Two River Theatre. Once there, we enjoyed a concert in an extremely intimate setting. To give you an idea of the size of the venue, we sat in the center section of Row I. There were only eight rows of seats between us and the front of the stage and but two rows of seats behind us. I would estimate the distance between us and the stage was at or about 100 feet, give or take a yard.

Over the course of the past decade I have spent a lot of time dragging Margaret from one super-sized venue to another to see the Poet Laureate of New Jersey do the voodoo that he does so well. And while there are a number of adjectives to describe the typical Springsteen concert, "intimate" is not one that usually elbows its way to the forefront of the line. While we were in Bruce's front yard Sunday night (or at the very least in the street in front of his home really, really close to the foot of his driveway) our musical journey did not lead us to the boards of Asbury Park.

We spent the evening instead walking the streets of another town altogether. I do not pretend to know a lot of Marc Cohn's music. But what I know of it I like a great deal. Margaret does as well. So on Sunday evening we did something that we do infrequently these days - we went on a date. And we went to see Marc Cohn and his band play, which they did quite well indeed, at the Two River Theater. He is touring in support of a record he just released called "Listening Booth - 1970", which is an album of covers of songs that were released - in one version or another - in 1970 when Cohn was an 11 y/o boy just falling in love with music. He told the audience that forty years later he traces his decision to have made the making of music the way in which he earns his living and supports his family to his days as an 11 year old boy in Shaker Heights, Ohio. The tracks he played in concert Sunday night and we listened to the copy of the CD we bought in the lobby of the theater all the way home in the car.

I was more intrigued candidly to hear the songs of his that are his own, including the ones from his first record, which are the songs of his that I know best of all. Among those that he played from the first record - in addition "Walking In Memphis", which launched his career was a song that never fails to make me think of Margaret. Cohn told his audience that while he had written "True Companion" prior to his first marriage and had even performed it at his first wedding, he emphasized his use of the phrase "first marriage" to underscore the fact that the song notwithstanding his first marriage turned out to have a shelf life considerably shorter than "when death do us part". Proving however that perhaps a happy ending is possible on the second pluck from the tree of life, he pointed out to all of us that he and his wife (his partner at his second marriage) are delightfully happy living together with their four children.

I can relate to Cohn's story albeit from the perspective of being the beneficiary of someone taking a second pluck. But for Margaret's first marriage not being a storybook story, there would never have been an 'us', which means for me there never would have been no Margaret, no Suz or no Rob. A prospect that is quite sobering to think about.

Sunday night, the Missus and I sat there in the center of Row I listening to Marc Cohn sing about the lasting power of love when the one you love is the only one you need. I threw a quick sideways glance at my bride, singing along softly in the next to me. And I realized that Cohn had hit the nail squarely on the head. And more importantly, so have I.

When the years have done irreparable harm
I can see us walking slowly arm in arm
Just like the couple on the corner do
'Cause girl I will always be in love with you
And when I look in your eyes
I'll still see that spark
Until the shadows fall
Until the room grows dark
Then when I leave this Earth
I'll be with the angels standin'
I'll be out there waiting for my true companion.

I am damn happy that I found mine. And I hope you have as well. Life is a tough enough road to walk without making the journey alone.


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