Piano Man

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It’s nine o’clock on a Saturday
The regular crowd shuffles in
There’s an old man sitting next to me
Makin’ love to his tonic and gin

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He says, “Son, can you play me a memory
I’m not really sure how it goes
But it’s sad and it’s sweet and I knew it complete
When I wore a younger man’s clothes”

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Sing us a song, you’re the piano man
Sing us a song tonight
Well, we’re all in the mood for a melody
And you’ve got us feelin’ alright

~ Piano Man, Billy Joel

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This has become a favorite song lately, and I consider it a good “life” song. There are life songs and life movies and life books. A recent life movie I saw that I’d recommend was Elizabethtown.
What I mean by this description is that there are those things, such as “Piano Man” and Elizabethtown, that simply paint a good portrait of life in one way or another. Whether they show its sadness or laughter, craziness or confusion, good or bad, all in all they convey its richness. They make you want to get up, go out and live and just love life. Or they make you reflect and think back on the times when you did. One way or another, they enhance life.

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This afternoon my family and I were gathered around the Christmas tree exchanging gifts, seeing as how it is Christmas. Now I hope you’re not expecting some nice give-you-warm-fuzzies story about how everyone got just what they wanted and then we ate pie, or one about how Uncle Dan accidentally caught the tree on fire, because you’re not going to. I don’t even have an Uncle Dan.
I was sitting next to my grandma (“Grammy”) on the couch as paper was torn off boxes around the room. Hanging on the wall opposite us I noticed an 8 x 10 portrait of her and my grandpa (“Papa”), who passed away about nine years ago. Nine years. That’s how long Grammy has been living on her own without him, how many Christmases she’s been through alone. Sitting there thinking about these things, it broke my heart. I’ve contemplated such things before, but in that moment I decided it: if God allows me to live my years into grayness, and if it be His will, I do not want to die before my wife. Morbid, yes. Get over it. Everybody thinks about things like this, most just don’t talk or write about it for one reason or another.
Back to the matter at hand. If her and I cannot go together, I don’t want her to have to live to see me go. Picturing my wife sitting around miserable and alone, having to take care of herself after I’m dead and gone . . . I would rather live alone a short while longer and die of a broken heart.

Sorry, I’m afraid I don’t have anything else to say tonight. Nothing to cheer you up after going all morbid on you. I’ll try to post again soon with something lighter.
Anywho, merry Christmas!

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One Response to Piano Man

  1. Laura says:

    It is hard to watch your grandparent after they have lost their spouse. And, if it makes you feel any better or more normal, I’ve often thought about which of my parents would be better suited to live after the other. That’s noble of you to not want her (your future wife) to live alone. Interesting thoughts, Joshua…interesting thoughts. Take care big brother!

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