For some reason that lyric has always seemed very sad to me. It’s the last line to “Same Old Lang Syne” from Dan Fogelberg.
“The beer was empty and our tongues were tired
And running out of things to say
She gave a kiss to me as I got out and I watched her drive away
Just for a moment I was back at school
And felt that old familiar pain
And as I turned to make my way back home
The snow turned in to rain….”
It’s funny what you think about when you hear someone has died.
When I heard Dan Fogelberg had passed away at the age of 56, I thought of Kim Matthews. Kim was one of my friends in high school. A pretty cheerleader who was fairly new to our school.
I had just gone to the record store and bought Fogelberg’s “Same Old Lang Syne”. A 45. For you young folks reading this, a 45 wasn’t a gun in 1980, it was a single. A small record with a big hole that required a squiggly plastic center piece so you could play it on your parent’s hi-fi record player.
Another friend, Jimmy Stirling was having a Christmas party at his house and Kim and I went as a couple. As best as I can remember, it was my first “make-out party”.
At some point after we ate the chips and cake and drank the 7-Up and Cokes Jimmy’s mom put out for us, the lights went off and everybody started making out. “Same Old Lang Syne” was the hot new single that week and everybody wanted to hear it over and over again. Fogelberg’s slow-ballads were what some of us guys called “closing the deal” music.
Since I brought the record and since I sort of took the role of “dj” at all of our parties, I was in charge of the music. That posed a bit of a problem for me “getting busy” with my date since I had to stop what I was doing every 5 minutes and 21 seconds, to put the tone arm back at the beginning.
I must have repeated that about a dozen times that night. Playing it over and over and over. No wonder teenage pregnancy is such a problem today…makeout parties have cd players with the “repeat option”.
Later, when the lights came back on and everybody starting finding their rides home, someone pointed at me and started laughing. Soon, everybody was doing the same thing. I had no idea what they were staring and laughing at until somebody said “hickie!”.
There, on my neck were at least 4 round maroon and purple marks. Kim had practically sucked every drop of blood in my head to the skin of my neck. It was my first hickie. Actually my first, second, third and fourth hickies. Thank goodness someone noticed them before I got home because I doubt I would have known what they were and would have thought I was dying.
I wore at least four little round bandaids on my neck to Sunday School the next day.
So when I heard that Fogelberg passed away Sunday, I couldn’t help but think of Kim Matthews and wonder what I’d say if I “met her in the grocery store” some snowy Christmas Eve. If she’d go to hug me and spill her purse and whether we’d laugh until we cried.
Thanks Dan Fogelberg for one of my favorite high-school memories.