Lyda here. I was killing time taking a short break, and I found this: Best Opening Lyrics.
Thus the title of this post. Listening to Simon and Garfunkel makes me cry, not just because of the melancholy lyrics. They were my dad’s favorite group, and I’ve known all the words forever.
Dad’s favorite was “The Boxer” while mine was “Feelin’ Groovy”. Maybe that says all you need to know about him. And me.
Only after my dad died, did I understand “The Boxer, ” understand why it was my dad’s favorite.
“In the corner stands a boxer, and a fighter by his trade. / And he carries a reminder of every blow that laid him down or cut him till he cried out / In his anger and his pain, ‘I am leaving, I am leaving.’ But the fighter still remains.”
I have two Beatles CDs in my car. When I’m not playing them, I listen to the classic rock stations. Or the score from a musical I grew up with. Or opera (yes, opera). You can bet that no matter what’s playing, if I’m alone, I’m singing at the top of my lungs. (Be glad you can’t hear me sing opera. Those college voice lessons were a long time ago, ya’ll.)
But I don’t have S&G in the car. It would be too sad.
My dad also loved Nat King Cole, and I remember him singing those songs to himself sometimes. They are still some of my favorite songs…
No matter what age I was, it was such a thrill to dance with my dad to those songs. He would only dance slow in public, although he used to make us laugh at home by clowning around to faster songs . I was always worried about stepping on his toes, but he taught me how to follow his lead. In dancing as in so much else.
Recently on PBS I discovered Michael Buble, who of course isn’t Nat (but then no one is) but who does the good old songs and sounds awesome. Also, he’s alive and cute which doesn’t hurt (’cause this is me, ya’ll – I’m sad, not dead).
Ya’ll know, my BA is in theater. My first work was with my dad in the theater, backstage and “on the boards” as we say. I loved the musicals and melodramas best, and only partly because I always had a part.
A few years ago, my most musical brother put together a CD with his best friend and a great friend of mine (also very musical), with the two of them singing songs from their 20 years of friendship. They included our friend singing “To Each His Dulcinea” as a tribute to my dad, who loved “Man of La Mancha” best of all musicals. When our friend played the Priest, Dad stood at the back of the theater every night to hear him sing this lovely song. No one ever sung it better.
They gave me a copy of their CD. I can hardly make it through without sobbing. There are so many memories bound up in this music, good memories made bittersweet by the loss of my parents and of too many good friends.
When we were little and cried, my mom would hold us and say, “Sad, sad song.” She knew that sometimes you have to cry it out. Both she and my dad have been gone a long time, long before my son was born. Sad, sad song.
When I am missing my dad in this melancholy way, I often pull out my battered Shakespeare from college, and read my dad’s favorite play of all time, “Hamlet.” From the first scene (“… for it is bitter cold, and I am sick at heart”) to the last, I feel my dad’s presence.
“He was a man, take him for all and all. I shall not look on his like again.”