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It amazes me, that in these times of easy access to music, a song can define who you are, where you were when you first heard it, how your heart and mind reacts when you hear it again. Songs become part of our lives, we choosing them for ceremonies: weddings, birthdays, even funerals. Songs can also become part of a vacation…remember that album was just out and we learned all the songs driving in the car…

As humans we form emotional reactions to music, to song lyrics. Who hasn’t been somewhere…on a date, taking a walk, waiting for a flight in the airport and A SONG PLAYS OVERHEAD. Even if it is just the tinny music, we can be transported to a place, to happiness or deep sorrow. MUSIC MOVES US.

Today when this post appears it will be NEW YEAR’S EVE, a day that we humans have laughed and wept over, loved and hated. Yes, it is just ONE DAY. But it signals major change. Not just because we were in one year and after midnight we are beginning another, but because we humans are prone to memory, to hanging on to an aspect of our lives….or for wanting what we have just lived to disappear, go away. THIS IS A NEW DAY, A NEW YEAR. THINGS WILL GET BETTER.

In many ways that thinking is more poetic than realistic. Who has made a promise for the new year and stumbled away from it early on….we all have. Whether it’s to write a poem every day or stop drinking…such decisions feel easy when this new time stretches out before us, bright and shiny and untouched. But it isn’t really. We don’t change at midnight. We are so damn human. But that’s okay. Read the words to his song. Find the song on line and listen to the music…this being a song about memories, about change, a New Year’s Eve that begins to play in my memory as the day approaches.

Met my old lover in the grocery store
The snow was falling Christmas Eve
I stole behind her in the frozen foods
And I touched her on the sleeve

She didn’t recognize the face at first
But then her eyes flew open wide
She went to hug me and she spilled her purse
And we laughed until we cried

We took her groceries to the checkout stand
The food was totalled up and bagged
We stood there lost in our embarrassment
As the conversation dragged

We went to have ourselves a drink or two
But couldn’t find an open bar
We bought a six-pack at the liquor store
And we drank it in her car…

We drank a toast to innocence
We drank a toast to now
And tried to reach beyond the emptiness
But neither one knew how

She said, “She’d married her an architect
Who kept her warm and safe and dry”
She wouldn’t liked to say she loved the man
But she didn’t like to lie

I said, “The years had been a friend to her
And that her eyes were still as blue”
But in those eyes I wasn’t sure if I saw
Doubt or gratitude

She said “She saw me in the record stores
And that I must be doing well”
I said “The audience was Heavenly
But the traveling was Hell”

We drank a toast to innocence
We drank a toast to now

And tried to reach beyond an emptiness
But neither one knew how

We drank a toast to innocence
We drank a toast to time
And reliving in our eloquence
Another auld lang syne

The beer was empty and our tongues were tired
And running out of things to say
She gave a kiss to me as I got out
And I watched her drive away

Just for a moment I was back at school
And felt that old familiar pain
And as I turned to make my way back home
The snow turned into rain…


In May 2004, Fogelberg began to fight prostate cancer. He had therapy, went into partial remission, but later died at home in Deer Isle Maine at the age of 56. In 2009, his widow, Jean Fogelberg, produced Love in Time, a collection of 11 previously unpublished songs that Fogelberg had asked her to release after his death.[20]

But it is his song SAME OLD LANG SYNE that he will always be remembered for. The song capturing love, loss, sorrow…when THE SNOW TURNED INTO RAIN.  And yes, I always cry. Because like poetry, music is memory, music is living on this earth. Be thankful for each new day. There is still time to forgive, love and find joy.

Happy New Year! Let’s make it a good year as we hug and honor those we love; let’s find peace in our lives as we remember and hold dear  those we have lost. Beth


10 Responses

  1. Oh, I haven’t listened to that song in a long time. Thank you for providing the context for my turning to this song today. It is powerful in the images he creates with words (accompanied to music). Poetry!

  2. I love that song and haven’t thought about it in years! Going to download it right now, thanks!

  3. Yes, we’ve all been transported by music. Music has moved us. Music has soothed our pains. A well written song expresses what we’d like to say but don’t have the words. It’s been a long time since I’ve heard this song. That solo at the end….Thank you for putting into words what many of us felt listening to this.

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