The Mixed Tape

BB King's Blues Club, Nashville- May 2011
If you were to take a ride with me, in our aging little blue Hyundai Accent, you'd probably notice the crumbs in the cupholders begging to be cleaned, or maybe you'd notice the file folder of work papers that always seems to be thoughtlessly thrown on the passenger seat. When it comes to music though, you'd see a mish-mash of CDs that would transport you back months, years and decades. You'd find some classics- Led Zeppelin, Crosby, Stills & Nash, and Motley Crue. You'd find some guilty pleasures- Relient K, Britney Spears, and Joan Osborne. You also might find a mixed CD entitled, "Happy 22nd Birthday, Boo!"

Pretend for a moment, that the last CD piqued your interest and you wanted to listen to a symphony of memories from a former life when my husband and I were dating and he was about to turn a whopping 22 years old. Because we were young and not-quite-officially-in-love, you would hit play only to greeted with a sappy, country song. I would be embarrassed by this particular choice of song, but would explain it away by telling you that this song, as well as 4 or 5 other tracks, were chosen as we were coming off a post-Nashville high and I was bound and determined to convert my beau to a country-music lover.

The track would abruptly change to a Jack's Mannequin song. It was (and is) one of my favorite bands and it was the first concert Chuck and I attended together just weeks prior to the aforementioned birthday. As I found an instrumental break in the song to pause my tone-deaf singing, I would tell you that my husband's passion for music was one of the traits that most attracted me to him, but watching him go bananas over the stellar piano-playing of one Andrew McMahon pretty much sealed the deal on our relationship.

You might be a little thrown off by the genre change when "Ready for Love" by Bad Company began to play. I would confess that I actually became stuck on this song in the weeks prior to meeting Chuck. I had arrived at a place where I was finally allowing myself to admit to God and myself that I wanted to fall in love. It sounds like a silly thing to say, but up until this point I had never really been honest with myself about the truest desires of my heart for fear I would never attain them. I genuinely believe that I had to open myself up to the possibility of love before God would introduce Chuck into my life. If I were feeling particularly brave, I also might admit that weeks into dating, after a night of drinking, Chuck and I may have recorded a video on my laptop of us singing this song together. I will go to my grave never having allowed another soul to witness the proof that this happened.

A terrible phone shot of us in front of Bob Marley's "single bed."
Things would get a little looser as the steel drums accompanying "Is This Love" by Bob Marley echoed throughout the vehicle. I would tell you that to this day, whenever this song comes on Chuck and I have to resist the opportunity to slow dance and serenade each other. I would reflect on how this track came full circle for us on our honeymoon in Jamaica when we got to see firsthand the "single bed" mentioned in the song. 

The CD would go on to play a few more embarrassingly sappy songs and as we arrived at our destination and turned off the car, I would probably try to conceal just how happy our trip down memory lane made me. I would suppress the urge to continue to recall the emotions of my naive and boy-crazy former self, but would end those minutes of nostalgia with the knowledge that Chuck's 22nd birthday was the first time we said "I love you." I would probably blink back tears, as I remembered how in love we felt during that time, but would laugh to myself, because those young and crazy kids had no idea just how much more they would grow to love each other in the years to come.

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