Thursday, April 10, 2014

Glen Campbell, Honey, & Being Good

Dear John,
 
I had a busy day at work. It kept me occupied and distracted, and I was having a good day until I started home and turned on the radio just in time to hear Glen Campbell sing, ". . . and I'm being good." I immediately changed the station, but it was too late. Honey was already playing in my head.
 
It hurt. But it got me thinking. When the song came out, I remember Mama being upset about that line, "I'm being good." She explained to me that, in the context of being recently widowed, the line was about sexual fidelity. I never understood if she was upset because such a concept was on the radio or because it was unfair for a young man to expect himself never to re-marry.
 
But I didn't hear it the way Mama did. To my young mind, for a recently-widowed man to "be good" meant to eat and sleep and keep on keeping on - to keep living whether he wanted to or not. And now, from the vantage point of my advanced age and experience, I think I was right. Nobody in their right mind is thinking about sex in the first year of widowhood - nobody that had a happy marriage, that is. The song is about the grief of the first year. I know more about that than Mama had to learn, and I can categorically state that the line was not about sex. So there.
 
And tonight I have to wonder: Am I being good? Am I doing what you want me to? You didn't want me to be unhappy, but we've already dealt with the absurdity of that. I'm alive - that doesn't particularly please me, but I think it does you. I'm getting up in the morning, going to work, taking care of the animals, going to church, paying the bills, and taking care of the house. I'm not doing a very good job of keeping up relationships outside of cyberspace, but that will come. So, other than being absolutely miserable right now, I have to conclude that I'm being good, whether I want to or not. I am acting like a grown-up.
 
The trees we planted are getting bigger and I'm being good. And tonight I have no polite words for Glen Campbell, drat the man.
 
Adore you, ache for you,
Joan.

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