My Christmas Eve passed by safely without meeting any old lovers in the grocery store. And that suits me just fine! Those of my generation will quickly recognize the reference to Dan Fogelberg’s song from 1981: Same Old Lang Syne from the album The Innocent Age. The opening lyrics to the song are as follows:
Met my old lover in a grocery store
The snow was falling Christmas Eve
Stole behind her in the frozen foods
and I touched her on the sleeve
She didn’t recognize the face at first
but then her eyes flew open wide
Tried to hug me and she spilled her purse
and we laughed until we cried…
Apparently the song is based on an actual experience that Fogelberg had in his hometown of Peoria, IL in the mid 1970’s. He and his former high school sweetheart ran into each other at a Peoria convenience store on Christmas Eve. Both of them graduated from Woodruff High School in 1969, but ended up going to different colleges. Reunions can certainly be bittersweet, and this one was no exception. One of the lines in the song that stands out to me is: We drank a toast to innocence; we drank a toast to now. Tried to reach beyond the emptiness but neither one knew how… All of us had friends and romantic interests alike during our innocent years. And then there is now… We have lived well beyond the innocent age.
I did not run into any old lovers the grocery store all year, but I have reunited with several special friends from back in the innocent age. Thus far I have found such times of coming back together to be rich beyond words. Perhaps that is because there is more distance between the innocent age and now. Fogelberg and his high school sweetheart had been out of high school less than ten years on that fateful Christmas Eve.
Some of us have buried our parents. Others have experienced painful divorces. We have had challenges in our careers. Some of us are going back to school at age 50. We have struggled to be the right example to our children, but most of our kids are better people than we were at that age. The gap between the innocent age and now is widening quickly.
A new year is about to dawn. 2011 probably will not be the year of reunions. But I firmly believe it could be the year where old friends are able to solidify and deepen friendships that have been renewed. I think we have already moved well beyond the emptiness. We can look back at the innocent age with fond memories, but our relationships with each other are deepening now. Such depth in renewed friendships is what I am looking forward to in 2011. We can benefit from each other now in ways we coudl not have imagined in the innocent age.
Just for a moment I was back in school
And felt that old familiar pain
And as I turned to make my way back home
the snow turned into rain…
Dan Fogelberg-Same Old Lane Syne from the Album: The Innocent Age