Music is my food in life. Don’t take it away. ~Peter Frampton
I love, love, love music. I can remember music being a part of my life for as long as I can remember. When I was a wee little person, I can recall listening to music on our super-sweet stereo system that was bigger than our television. Seriously. The console was a large piece of furniture that dominated the living room. The top of the console lifted up to reveal a kick-ass turntable. There was a penny glued to the top of the needle to prevent skipping. Tons of those little yellow inserts used to secure 45’s were scattered about. And albums. We had everything. My step-dad liked classical. Mom liked musicals. I loved Peter Frampton. Frampton Comes Alive was my very first album. I asked for it for Christmas in 1976 (I was eight). I played it so much I wore it out. As well as the copy after that. And then yet another.
I did eventually expand my horizons to include other artists but I have struggled in trying to let go of that particular genre. Classic rock is what I love the most. Back in the day I had an impressive collection of vinyl. And I totally played the crap out of every single one. What brings a smile to my face today is when I hear one of my old favorites on the radio and I can still recall the slight hiss of my vinyl or where the record had a permanent skip. It’s so ingrained in my memory that the flaw on my album has become a part of the song. And no one gets it but me.
Maybe there’s one boy who gets it. I’ve known this boy nearly all my life. He’s got a bazillion albums – a collection I used to know many moons ago – but haven’t seen since the late 70’s when I used to sneak into his room and peruse his collection without his knowledge. I understand that his collection today requires its own zip code so he’s expanded considerably. Anyway, I used to be friends with his younger sister. Back then, he had little use for me. But when I saw his albums I was transfixed. Most girls would be enamored with a closet full of clothes or perhaps a collection of dolls. But not me. Those albums were what drew me in. I remember sitting in the basement of their house listening to “Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy” through those gigantic earphones that only the 70’s could make popular. Oh, the music then was so wonderful. And I was secretly in love with the boy who owned all those albums.
So, I followed him around like a puppy. And over the years we began to like each other as people. We’d talk about music. We’d contemplate the seriousness of life. We’d laugh over the ridiculous. And, eventually, our friendship surpassed the one between his sister and me. His friendship became a priceless treasure. There was nothing we couldn’t talk about.
Then, nearly 20 years ago, I made the poor decision to not marry him. I guess I was afraid that it would screw up our friendship. I didn’t fully understand that friendship was the most incredible foundation you could have for a marriage. We liked each other. We loved each other. And I couldn’t stand the thought of losing that by marrying him. See, I’ve had a total of EIGHT marriage proposals over the past 25 years. I guess I have a hard time taking proposals very seriously (in my defense, I’ve only accepted three and acted on two.)
So I took off. But not before “borrowing” his VHS tapes of the X-Files. Unfortunately, we were out of touch for a while.
Then, over a decade later, we reunited. And it was as if nothing had changed. At least from a friendship standpoint. We still contemplated life. We still laughed at the ridiculous. He had moved on with his life as I had with mine. We were in different places but still the same people who had a deep respect for one another.
Until he asked me about his X-Files tapes. I had no response for him other than I had saved him from a dying technology. VHS was out. He would have had to upgrade to DVD at some point, I just saved him a step. Right? He didn’t buy it either. 😉 Truthfully, I had simply lost the tapes along the way, most likely during one of my many moves in Summit County.
This last year he has been instrumental in helping me maintain my sanity. I’ve had so many heartbreaks that if it weren’t for him, I would have drowned. Interestingly enough, I didn’t fully realize that until just recently. See, I’d been seeing someone who used me terribly. Lied to me outrageously. And the whole time, my dear, sweet friend saw right through him. Never once did he try to dissuade me from following my heart. He told me what he thought but then left it to me to make my own decision. And the beautiful piece of it? He remained my friend. He didn’t abandon me because I was making what was – in everyone else’s eyes – a very bad decision. And when it all fell apart he handed me a bandaid and told me to get on with it. We make lists of songs that will help me get over the hurt and nearly every day he encourages me to do the best I can do. Each day it gets a little easier. And then – maybe not soon, but one day – the pain will be gone.
That right there, my dear readers, is a friend. He has forgiven me for the hurt I caused him (mostly over the X-files tapes – not the marriage thing). He loves and accepts me as I am. He supports me no matter what. He encourages me. My life is better because of him.
So, on National Record Day, I want to thank my best friend, James, for standing by me during some really jacked up stuff. You’ve shown me what a true friend is and I’m so blessed to know you. In your honor, I’m going to come up with the five best songs to describe how I feel about you. I’ll forgo the obvious Queen selection. You really are, without fail, my best friend. And maybe someday you’ll leave all of your beautiful albums to me. Except that J. Geils crap. You can leave that to Scotty.
*NOTE* I also have a super awesome female friend named Steff. She’s never asked me to marry her or anything but we have a connection that is just as special. I’m just a lucky, lucky girl to have two best friends. 🙂
I married a musician with so much vinyl that I worried that the weight of his collection might be too much for our old, 1906 house! It has not always been easy (we have also had a child with a neuroblastoma), but I have always been grateful for the wonderful role that music has played in our lives. With each pregnancy, his first thought was to put together a (back then) tape (today it would be CD) of music for the birthing room! When Laura was in the hospital battling neuroblastoma as a 1 year old, our first purchase was a small tape player to bring music to her hospital room. What would life be without music?!
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