Christmas Songs that Aren’t – “Same Auld Lang Syne”

Christmas songs are here!!!! Some of the radio stations in my radio market started playing them November 1, but I promptly changed the channel. Now, I’ve finally given in, and I’ve started listening to Christmas music. Have you noticed that some Christmas songs aren’t?

One song often played during the Christmas season is “Same Auld Lang Syne”, by Dan Fogelberg. Today, I had to explain to my eleven-year old daughter what the song was about. It is a great song, poignant, about first love that might have been, but it’s not very upbeat.

Now, as a mom, married for more than 16 years, I have to ask what the architect was doing at home, on Christmas Eve, while his wife is drinking a six-pack of beer in the car with Dan Fogelberg? Like most families, Christmas Eve is hectic for us. We usually drive to see my family, we go to church, we have to get home and get everything ready for the next day. Now granted, this was back in 1975, before cell phones, but even then, you’d think the husband would be wondering where his wife is for a couple of hours when she made a quick run to the store. She’s not divorced in the song.

I went to the source, and asked wikipedia, and here’s what I learned.
Yes, the song was autobiographical. Dan Fogelberg did run into his old girlfriend in the grocery store on Christmas Eve. He never identified who she was, and he did change some details about her to protect her identity. But, according to Wikipedia, the girlfriend has since come forward.

According to Wikipedia,

As Fogelberg said on his official website, the song was autobiographical.[5] He was visiting family back home in Peoria, Illinois in the mid-1970s when he ran into an old girlfriend at a convenience store.

After Fogelberg’s death from prostate cancer in 2007, the woman about whom he wrote the song came forward with her story. Her name is Jill Greulich, and she and Fogelberg dated in high school when she was Jill Anderson. As she explained to the Peoria Journal Star in a December 22, 2007 article,[6] they were part of the Woodruff High School class of 1969, but went to different colleges. After college, Jill got married and moved to Chicago, and Dan went to Colorado to pursue music. On December 24, 1975, they were each back in Peoria with their families for Christmas when Jill went out for eggnog and Dan looked for whipping cream for Irish coffee. The only place open was a convenience store at the top of Abington Hill where they had their encounter, located at 1302 East Frye Avenue. Today, the store is still in business and named Short Stop Food Mart. They bought a six pack of beer and drank it in her car for two hours while they talked.

Five years later, Jill heard “Same Old Lang Syne” on the radio while driving to work, but she kept quiet about it, as Fogelberg also refused to disclose her identity. Her main fear was that coming forward would disrupt Fogelberg’s marriage.

Looking at the lyrics, Jill cites two inaccuracies: her eyes are green, not blue, and her husband was a physical education teacher, not an architect, and Fogelberg was unlikely to know his profession anyway. On the line, “She would have liked to say she loved the man, but she didn’t like to lie,” Jill will not talk about it, but by the time of the song’s release, she had divorced her husband.

Source : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Same_Old_Lang_Syne

So, there you have it. As Paul Harvey would say, the rest of the story.

So, did that evening go something like this:

I’ll use the name Martha, since I’m not writing about the actual person in the song… and I’ll use Phillip for the husband. That’s a good name for an adult in 1975.

Martha parked her car outside the garage, not sure she could navigate the tight fit to squeeze in beside Phillip’s Buick. Between the couple of inches of snow in the driveway and the couple of beers she had had, the last thing she wanted to do was hit the side of the garage. She grabbed the container of egg nog, lukewarm by now, and started into the house.

Phillip was talking on the phone when she walked in. “Here she is. Thanks. We’ll see you in a little bit.”

He put the receiver on its base with such force it wobbled in the cradle. “Martha, where have you been? I have been worried sick. My parents have been calling, wanting to know when we’re coming over to decorate the tree. You’ve been gone two hours!”

Had it really been that long? Two beers. She guessed so. Dan had drunk four. “I had to go to a couple of stores. Everyone was out of egg nog.” The lie came easy. What else could she say? She ran into an old lover in a grocery store and talked to him in the parking lot? Sometimes the truth hurt more than a lie.

“Oh. Well, I was worried.” He glanced at her bluejean skirt and the red pullover sweater. “Are you going to change to go to my parents? You know they like to do the Christmas pictures tonight.”

“I don’t think I’m going. Tell them I have a headache.” That wasn’t far from the truth.

“Martha, you have to go! If you don’t, they will worry me to death about what you’re doing, why you’re not there.”

“I’m sorry. I can’t do it. You’ll just have to go on without me.”

And that summed it up more than he knew. She trudged up the stairs, deciding she would lay down for a while and hopefully he would get the hint and believe she had a headache.

Later, she heard him leave. Christmas wasn’t the time to break up a marriage. She would tell him after the new year. She would find an apartment, and start over. She drifted to sleep listening to the sound of the rain on the window.

_________________________________

Happy Thanksgiving!

Flash Fiction – Lost in the Maze, Part 1

Bickleigh , Bickleigh Maize Maze - geograph.org.uk - 1223716.jpg

Bickleigh Maize Maze from geograph.org.uk

Bickleigh , Bickleigh Maize Maze – geograph.org.uk – 1223716” by Lewis Clarkegeograph.org.uk. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

I mentioned a while back that I was gong to try my hand at flash fiction, short little stories less than 5,000 words.  Here is part one of Lost in the Maze.

 

Lost in the Maze, Part 1

Copyright Lily Bishop, 2014. No part of this story may be reproduced without permission.

 

Caitlyn rushed around her apartment while she talked to her sister, trying to get everything straight and in its place before her date with Cody. If her sister Maddy didn’t stop irritating her, she would put down the phone right now.

“Caitlyn and Cody sitting in a tree. K – I – S – S – I – N – G. First comes love. Then comes marriage. Here comes Caitlyn with a baby carriage.”

“Maddy, stop it!” Caitlyn fussed at her sister. “You don’t know anything.”

“I know you want to marry him,” Maddy said, giggling. “Why are you in such a rush, anyway?”

“What do you know? You’re still in high school.” Caitlyn tried to put her off, but unfortunately, Maddy did know. Caitlyn was tired of waiting, and she was ready to get married.

“And you’re a wise woman of the world at twenty-one. You’re just upset that he’s a senior and graduating, and you’re not. Why are you in such a hurry to get married? Not me—I want to travel first. I want to see London, and Paris, and Athens, Greece. I don’t want some boy tying me down.”

“When you meet the one, you’ll change your mind. Anyway, don’t jinx me. I just know tonight’s the night.”

“How do you know he’s the one, anyway?”

“I just do. We’re perfect for each other. We like the same things. We eat the same foods—”

“Sounds boring to me. Where’s the challenge in that?”

“Everything doesn’t have to be a challenge.” Caitlyn looked up at the sound of boots on the porch. “He’s here. Gotta go.”

She opened the front door and stood there for a heartbeat, smiling up at her Cody. Taller by about six inches, he leaned into her, just as he always did, and she draped her arms around his neck. His aftershave was familiar, his cheek smooth. His dark curls were just a bit damp. He wore his usual button down long-sleeved shirt, the first button undone, and his sleeves were rolled up on the forearms. The only difference is that tonight he wore jeans instead of khaki pants.

“I missed you,” he said. She leaned into him and puckered for a kiss. He kissed her like it had been a month. She had, of course, just seen him the night before, but none of that mattered.

“I missed you, too.” She backed up and pulled him into the main room. Her apartment took up half of the bottom floor of an old Victorian house on Main Street. She had a living room, a bedroom, and a tiny kitchen, if you could call a modified hallway with a stove and refrigerator a kitchen.

“I’ll wait out here while you change.”

She looked down at the flared-skirt dress with the nipped-in waist that she had picked out for this romantic evening. “You don’t like my dress?”

“I said casual, remember? You do not want to wear that for what I have planned.”

“I paired it with boots,” she said, frowning. This was as casual as she got for a date, especially one that she felt sure would be a proposal. “Where are we going, anyway?”

“Oh, no you don’t. It’s a surprise. Now go change.”

 

to be continued…


 

I know it’s short — probably three parts to this one. What do you think?  Caitlyn’s got her life all planned out.

Don’t miss a single scene. Subscribe to my blog to get the rest.