Dear Partner Letter #27: Here's to 50 Years

Songs & Stories From Home Episode 87

HERE’S TO 50 YEARS

 

Here’s to fifty years, my friend the never were’s and the might have been’s
Won’t be coming back again here’s to fifty years, my friend
Looking back on all those years all that laughter all the tears
Twists and turns that brought us here celebrating and remembering
Here’s to fifty years my friend I don’t know where the time all went
It won’t be coming back again here’s to fifty years, my friend
Here’s to all the memories all the hopes and all the dreams
The triumphs and the tragedies that we went through together
Here’s to fifty years, my friend I can’t be saved it’s all been spent
I’d love to do it all again here’s to fifty years, my friend
Don’t know what tomorrow brings oh we will laugh and we will sing
We’re not lost just wandering on our way back home
Here’s to fifty years, my friend when and why and where it went
With whom we shared how it was spent here’s to fifty years, my friend

 

Dear Partner,

That’s us singing “Here’s To Fifty Years, My Friend.” It’s from a concert in September of 2015 half a century after we met and sang our first song together. The concert was a big deal and became even more so as more life grew up around it.

The only other show we’ve done based on how long we’ve known each other and been singing together was the “Among Friends” concert we did twenty years earlier. In a lot of ways I approached that concert as if it was going to be one of our personal and professional highlights. And then life went on to show us in so many ways it was going to simply be a Prelude. When I remember that I’m less likely to prejudge. More likely to be awake and aware and alive in each moment. The heart of that kind of thinking found in the chorus of another song we introduced when we celebrated fifty years.

 

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

     

It’s fun to remember when you and Connie came over, and you heard those songs for the first time. It was a couple of months before the concert. And as always your sense of phrasing quickly helped make the songs come alive. Yet that day was much more than just getting ready for another day. It was the day with Pat and Connie we celebrated half a century of friendship. Not for the world to see but for us to remember. A beautiful Northwest summer day. We sat outside. We barbequed ribs. After we’d eaten I picked up a guitar and sang a song that summed up some of our relationship.

 

Our college days, the nightclub stage
The concerts sung the record made
Those years we lost or threw away
Survived the night learned how to pray
Got turned around were on our way
While there are things we’d surely change
Still they all brought us to this place
So in the end I just say thanks, Old Friend

For fifty years of memories
And just as many hard fought dreams
Through triumphs and the tragedies
Though filled with doubts we still believed
And so became who we would be
Some magic and some mystery
To know that we’re both known and seen
That is the gift you give to me, Old Friend

 

When I finished singing, I looked across the table at you. Besides 50 years for us, I said, its 50 years ago that the Martin Guitar Company introduced what became one of their most popular instruments, the D-35, and this year they are producing and selling a 50th anniversary model. I got that far and had to stop just like I’m stopping now before going on to say: this is one of those guitars and it’s yours as a reminder and as a symbol of fifty years of friendship and musical partnership.

A truly special moment between old friends.

The months leading up to our concert would prove to be significant in a number ways. Five years earlier I began what I called a journey around a life. Around a metaphorical mountain. Continuing to share that life in songs and stories around virtual campfires complete with a map and these words by T.S. Eliot, “We shall not cease from exploration/and in the end of all our exploring/will be to arrive where we started/and know the place for the first time.”

The summer as you and I were preparing to celebrate our friendship and musical partnership and where and how we began, I went back to my 50th high school reunion in Spokane. We had nearly a thousand kids in our class. I was given the opportunity to sing and to speak that Saturday night. I thanked everyone for being an important part of my life at an important time in my life. Then I talked about how in high school I was living in the shadow of a secret but didn’t know it. How damaging shadows and secrets can be. And how healing it can be when the shadows and secrets are bathed in songs and stories, in the light of love and truth. Then I sang a song called “Love Abides.”

 

Faith is strong
Hope is high
Joy abounds
Love abides

Quite a night.

Around that same time my older brother turned 70 and my younger brother was retiring after a successful career as a teacher. I wrote each of them a letter telling them how I loved them, how proud I was of them, how much they meant to me back in the day and how much they continue to mean to me to this day.

At the end of the summer you and I did our concert. That evening was a chance to be with and celebrate with a lot of folks we’ve known in the course of a lot of years. A chance for you to play your new guitar on stage for the first time.

When it was over, the concert and all that led up to it, I realized I had indeed arrived where I started and in many ways I knew it for the first time. When that became clear I also became aware that it was time to take another leap of faith. To believe that I had made it around that mountain. And therefore it was time to come down from that mountain. It was time to find my way home. To have faith that I could and would find my way home. It sounds simple and inevitable. And yet for so long I had wondered if I might wander forever on that metaphorical mountain, wondered if I could or would ever truly find my way home. Now finally believing.

Grateful in so many ways for so many reasons.      

I’ll end this letter with a video of us singing and believing “Our Best Day May Be Tomorrow.”

 

We’ve done fifty years of singing shared some fifty years of days
Lived a lifetime full of stories that have brought us to this stage
There is so much life behind us so much there to celebrate
The thing that’s most exciting is that so much more awaits

Chorus

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 right now

My experience has taught me life’s so much an attitude
Every day that I am offered fills me with a gratitude
So many things have happened I see in the rearview mirror
It’s when I look in front of me one thing is truly clear

Chorus

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 right now

Bridge

And God knows the time is coming when our future’s in the past
When our best days are behind us when they are I hope we laugh
While remembering the good times and I hope we realize
That it’s been quite a journey…till that moment arrives…

Chorus

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 right now

 

 

 

Songs & Stories From Home | Mark Pearson Music

One of Those Times in a Life | Mark Pearson Music

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