Today's yet another nostalgia trip for me, as my wife and I travel back to the college town where we first met and I first asked her out (twenty years ago today). When I first asked Kara out I was really into Sinead O'Connor and They Might Be Giants and Shawn Colvin and Sam Phillips. I was also still a jazz musician then and playing a fair bit of (at the time) contemporary and classic jazz with my combo, Active Ingredient. Kara and I bonded over the Indigo Girls and Kim Hill, and she got me into the Beatles, but we parted musically over artists like Trip Shakespeare (mine) and Bon Jovi (hers). We made mix tapes for each other and all the other sappy lovey-dovey stuff that college students do. It was fun.
We're driving back to our old school today to see how much has changed since the day I called Kara and left a message with her roommate, since Kara worried that her roommate was pulling an April Fools Day joke on her by telling her I'd called, since I finally pushed through my insecurities to ask Kara on a date. It's easier to track the passage of time by looking at places than by looking at ourselves, I think: for all my age spots and weight gain and wrinkles and other markers of the aging process, I still think of myself the way I thought of myself back then--young, alive, full of promise, scared out of my mind about all that lay before me. Twenty years later I still think like a twenty-year-old sometimes, but I think if back then I could look forward twenty years--if I had as much foresight then as I have hindsight now--I would have been able to relax a bit. Life's been good, and I've had a good time with it. I'm reminded of a song that often comes to mind for me on the first of any month: I know "Mr. Rabbit" as a song by Paul Westerburg (of the Replacements), although apparently Burl Ives (the snowman in the claymation "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer") recorded it first. Like Mr. Rabbit, my coat today is might gray, but I can bless God in spite of it, even because of it.
mr rabbit, mr rabbit
your coat is mighty grey
yes, bless god it's made that way
every little soul must shine