Song as Story
Songs can tell a story. Songs from the 50s and 60s are etched deep into my psyche, possibly because the radio was on more often in those days or possibly because so many of those old songs were stories. Marty Robbins, "El Paso," told the tragic tale of the young cowboy that fell in love with the mysterious Felena only to end up dying before he could forge a relationship with her. Jimmy Dean's "Big Bad John" met a similar end inside a mine, but not before he could save a bunch of his fellow miners, "And with all of his strength he gave a mighty shove. Then a miner yelled out, 'there's a light up above!' And twenty men scrambled from a would-be grave Now there's only one left down there to save, Big John." Yes, Big Bad John died to save twenty of the men who called him Big Bad John.
Steve, I also tells stories with some of his songs. Most are about real-life people that we have met over the years. Some are about the children we met when we operated a soup kitchen mission in West Sacramento in the 70s or about the men and women that frequented it. There is one song that is a story that he just made up. The Song is "Love Never Grows Old." Here is the history behind that song.
In the 70s, my oldest sister's husband died. Pete had been a career Army Sergeant and had fought in three wars, World War II, Korea and Vietnam. Tragically, he survived those only to die from a then-incurable intestinal disease. Sadly, Cleo was left to raise her four children. The youngest was only 4 at the time. The oldest was near college age. I was in my 20s at the time. Though already a nurse, I would go with her sometimes to help clean houses. Also, she enrolled at the local college and started taking classes, knowing that her financial future would bring new challenges. Sometime after he died, she also began work with a multi-level marketing firm that offered home decorations. One of the things that we bought from her was a picture that has been in our various living rooms all these years. It is a picture at the top of this post.
The old man, by the sea. Him in his boat was a normal scene.
Times are tough. His life is rough. But it's all he's known, his whole life long.
Then one day, she came to him. Her mama had died. Dad left home.
Oh, please, "Grandpa, please take me in. I don't want to face being lonely again."
Love never gets old. It only grows. It's not something you lose, but through it
others you'll win. So take the chance. Relight the flame.
Your life will never be the same.
To hear the rest of the story, here is a link to the YouTube version. You can also get the CD, "Home as Soon As I Can" on our store or download the whole album on I-Tunes, Amazon or your favorite digital music source.
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Author: Martha Borth