published Monday, October 29th, 2012

Grand Thoughts: Song from 1988 brings back memories, tears

My granddaughters and I love listening to music and dancing.

YouTube is my favorite music source because it's easy to play DJ.

We start out our dance session with the girls' favorite, "Call Me Maybe" by Carly Rae Jepsen. The girls dance and sing.

Next is Michael Jackson's "Thriller." Tilleigh, 5, has the King of Pop's dance moves down pat.

Then it's my turn to choose the tunes, and I always pick The Beatles. My granddaughters, as did my children, are growing up with John, Paul, George and Ringo.

They're also growing up with Gene Autry (my late father's favorite singer), Perry Como (my mom's), Rolling Stones and Bob Marley (my husband's) and various favorites of their mother, aunt and uncles.

Holding their hands and dancing around the living room to "She Loves You" and "I Want To Hold Your Hand" is fun.

My girls are as familiar with Autry's "Back in the Saddle" as they are with his "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and "Here Comes Santa Claus."

They love Como's "Catch a Falling Star," Marley's "Exodus," Judy Garland's "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and Doris Day's "Que Sera, Sera."

Last week, we were enjoying a couple hours of dancing when I decided to play one of their mommy's favorite songs from her high school days, Rod Stewart's "Forever Young."

Big mistake.

I turned from being a fun-loving, dancing-machine grandmother to a blubbering baby. The words to the song hit me like a ton of bricks: "And when you finally fly away, I'll be hoping that I served you well. For all the wisdom of a lifetime; no one can ever tell. But whatever road you choose, I'm right behind you, win or lose. Forever young."

The song was released in 1988. My oldest daughter, my granddaughters' mother, was 15. Her siblings were 10, 8 and 6. The song immediately took me back to 1988, which seems like yesterday.

I looked at my little granddaughters laughing and dancing around the room and knew that in a heartbeat they are going to grow up like my four kids.

So what does any over-the-top sentimental person do at this time? Cry. Crocodile-sized tears started rolling down my cheeks, and the more I tried to subdue the waterworks, the faster the tears fell. I suddenly missed my children being children.

I tried to regain my composure before the girls noticed, but when a strange noise escaped from my throat, they froze.

"I'm OK," I said. "I have something in my throat."

They believed me.

They started dancing again, and so did I. After all, I told myself, if my kids weren't yet grown, I wouldn't be dancing with these two little precious people.

The next time I hear the song, though, I'm turning it off.

about Karen Nazor Hill...

Feature writer Karen Nazor Hill covers fashion, design, home and gardening, pets, entertainment, human interest features and more. She also is an occasional news reporter and the Town Talk columnist. She previously worked for the Catholic newspaper Tennessee Register and was a reporter at the Chattanooga Free Press from 1985 to 1999, when the newspaper merged with the Chattanooga Times. She won a Society of Professional Journalists Golden Press third-place award in feature writing for ...

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