LETTER ONE: AN INTRODUCTION
Dear Partner, Old Soulmate, we’ve come a long way
Down fast lanes and dirt roads crossed an ocean or two
Shared adventure and danger with friends and strangers
Doing the best that we thought we could do
Now there's more lines on my face then I've left for the ladies
More no's than ever were yeses or maybes
More times I wondered, where do I belong?
My boots have worn out before I could die with them on
Thought we'd go out in a great ball of fire
Get shot or arrested as we fooled with desire
Thought we'd be gone when the piper cam round
Before life filled us up and started slowing us down
©Copyright 1983 Love Gives More Music
Welcome to Songs and Stories from Home. You’ve just heard the first verse and the chorus of Dear Partner, a song I wrote more than 35 years ago for my friend and longtime song mate, Mike McCoy. Before the Corona Virus changed everything, our plan was to record a bunch of new songs and share them in the fall of 2020 as a way of celebrating 55 years of friendship as well as the 25 years since a dark night in McCoy’s life made us even closer and helped bring us to this day. Recording the new songs will have to wait, replaced for the moment by a series of letters I’m writing to him and sharing with you called Dear Partner.
Who would have thought or could have imagined in the fall of 1965 that two kids, one from Spokane and the other from Sumner, with football scholarships to the University of Washington, would today, at least figuratively, be sitting on that park bench Paul Simon wrote about all those years ago thinking indeed how terribly strange it is to be 70, or in our case in our 70’s. I am happy to say there’s still too much to look forward to to spend much time on that park bench. I’m delighted that despite some health scares and setbacks the chorus of one of the songs we sang five years ago to celebrate 50 years of friendship still holds.
Our best day may be tomorrow, our best song yet to be sung
Our best story still unwritten, finest moment still to come
Best adventure out there waiting, best discovery still unfound
Greatest time we’ve had together? Who knows it might be now
©Copyright 2015 Love Gives More Music
Thinking about our relationship I was thinking back to who we were all those years ago. One of those laugh until you cry memories. And then I thought of all the things I’ve learned since then…
The most important thing I’ve learned and continue to learn is how to love, and how to let someone love me, even the broken places, especially the broken places. I’ve learned that having faith in something is essential. That while hope may be optional, despair destroys. I’ve learned the importance of offering and receiving grace. To be forgiven and to forgive. The person hardest to forgive? Myself. I learned that what we do is important but not as important as who we are. While I’ve heard and believe we are as sick as our secrets, I’ve learned we can also be as healthy as the stories we share and the songs we sing together. I learned the beauty of joy, the power of patience, the gifts that come with gratitude, and the satisfaction that accompanies grit. For a long time, I was unaware of the fear I was living in. Finding, facing, and freeing my fears taught me that I didn’t have to live in them, but I could learn to live with them. And once I learned that I learned of other things buried deep that had defined me that I could now define. I learned there’s a price to pay to repair and redeem, though it’s nowhere near the cost of leaving unrepaired and unredeemed. I found how hard it can be to find and keep my balance. The only way I learned was to get up after I fell or failed and try again. I learned to listen for, to hear and to trust when something rings true. I learned the importance of truth. And kindness. I learned how long, lonely, and dark a night can be and the wonder of awakening to a new day where faith is strong, hope is high, joy abounds, and love abides.
Faith is strong, hope is high, joy abounds, and love abides
©Copyright 2017 Love Gives More Music
Those are some things I’ve learned in the years since I met you. Back when we thought we almost knew it all.
Among other things I’ve learned is the importance of friendship, and partnership, and something I can’t find a better word for than fellowship. I’ve been blessed to have good friends, collaborators, and to have found fellowship with a lot of folks. What makes our relationship unique is that it’s all those things in abundance.
The next Dear Partner letter will talk about how on the Monday after Thanksgiving twenty-five years ago you found your way out of the darkness and into the light. A moment of truth. A moment that changed everything. A moment when you needed someone and trusted me to be there. After we said goodbye that night you went home to someone who believed in you enough to not give up on you. Then somehow it dawned on you that by God you were loved. And when that light went on nothing could or would ever be the same again.
How to finish this letter? The first thirty years that we knew each other we never once told each other we loved each other. I suppose we thought it was the manly thing NOT to do. These days “love you” is the way we finish every conversation. So I could just say I love you and let it go at that. Instead I think I’ll end this letter by singing one of the new songs called
The Last Thing That We Say
My granddad never told my dad he loved him
My dad seldom said I love you to me
Cause something was the way it was and how it’s always been
Doesn’t mean that’s how it’s gotta be
My dad loved me although he’d rarely say it
He had his way of showing it and yet
Chose not to say I love you or perhaps did not know how
And for me I guess I’ll call that a regret
I knew you thirty years before we said it
Not saying it was just the way things were
We might have been embarrassed hadn’t learned to share such feelings
Didn’t think that much about it that’s for sure
Then there came the darkest of the dark nights
Thought “love you” was the last thing that you’d hear
Yet somehow you could hear it even if I didn’t say it
Talk about sweet music to a lost soul’s ears
Together we have gotten through some hard times
The last few years been talking every day
A lot of times it’s nothing more than knowing that you’re out there
“I love you” is the last thing that we say
©Copyright 2020 Loves Gives More Music