Young Love

Before they finish the melody, Miss Gina quietly steps into the garage. Miss Gina is married to Martin, the guitarist. She is carrying four Miller High Lifes on a silver tray—and one diet soda for Mister Randy.

I need to be in Montgomery in a few hours, but I have some time to kill. So I’m killing it by sitting in an old man’s garage, watching old men play music.

There is a banjo, a fiddle, a guitar. Behind them is an ‘84 Ford. Before them is an audience of three children. The kids are all ears.

The men play “Turkey in the Straw” and you’d swear they were high-schoolers instead of retirees. It’s all in the way they tap their feet.

Before they finish, Miss Gina quietly steps into the garage. Miss Gina is married to Martin, the guitarist. She is carrying four Miller High Lifes on a silver tray—and one diet soda for Mister Randy.

You don’t see many silver trays anymore.

She makes her delivery, then watches her husband play guitar in earnest. And though she is old, she looks at him the same way a sophomore would look at her high-school sweetheart.

The song ends. The children applaud. The old men take a few moments to catch their breath.

“Grandpa!” one little boy says. “Can you play that one you played last time, about the fishing guy with the pole?”

The men get right to business. They pluck through a few bars, singing, “You get a line, I’ll get a pole, honey…”

The kids start to dance. And if you’ve ever been lucky enough to see children dance to a song that predates their grandfathers, you’ve been lucky enough.

Miss Gina brings snacks for the children—using another shiny platter. This time, it’s sweet tea and butterscotch cookies that are so good they ought to be outlawed.

Miss Gina whispers to me, “Thanks for coming by today, I know you’re busy, but I thought you’d enjoy seeing Martin play.”

I thank her for inviting me, and for the cookies. I ask her how she met Martin.

“Oh,” she says, “first time I ever met him, he was playing at our school dance, up on a stage, back in Texas, and I knew I had to have him.”

Miss Gina admits that she snagged Martin using methods that were somewhat deceptive. Namely, Gina faked a fatal disease.

“You did what?” I ask.

She laughs beneath her breath. This woman is amused with herself.

“He was just SO cool,” she explains. “I had to do something dramatic.”

So one night, she and her girlfriend came up with a rare and deadly disease. They decided that this fatal condition could only be treated by an exotic potion from the Orient, or else victims would not survive.

“Keep in mind,” Miss Gina adds, “I was only fourteen, and he was fifteen, and I just wanted him to notice me.”

One day, Gina’s girlfriends approached Martin and told him about her “fatal” condition. The girls explained that Gina’s dying request was to go on a date with him, preferably to a movie.

“How long does she have to live?” asked Martin.

“Could be months,” one girl said. “Or it could be days.”

“Yeah,” said one girlfriend. “She‘s looking pretty bad, like she could go at any time.”

Martin overhears our conversation. He stops playing guitar and chimes in:

“At first I thought they were lying,” he says. “But when we got to the theater, I figured she HAD to be telling the truth.”

“Why?” I ask.

“Because,” he says. “NOBODY kisses that wild on a first date unless they’re just about to die.”

Miss Gina giggles, but she’s not ashamed. Why should she be? She and Martin raised four kids together.

And I’m happy to report that none of their adult children are carriers of this rare disorder.

Anyway, music is important to this older couple. Sometimes, Miss Gina sings with Martin’s band in the garage. I ask her if she wouldn’t mind singing one.

She sings “How High the Moon.” Her husband plays a flat top in the style of Les Paul. He grins at her the whole way through.

The children who watch have no idea what they’re actually seeing. They think they’re watching two old folks sing an ancient song. But it’s more than that.

This is time travel.

During this brief musical interlude, we who watch are no longer in a modern world, but back in the old days. A place where men still grease their hair, and women still deliver things on silver trays.

These are our people. And they are disappearing, one by one, a few more every day. Soon, they’ll be gone, and there will be no more time travel.

The song ends. The children applaud. I clap. Miss Gina asks if anyone needs anything from the kitchen before she leaves.

“I’ll take another beer,” says Martin.

She approaches her husband to retrieve his empty bottle. But he withdraws the bottle from her and points to his lips.

“Nope,” he says. “Gotta kiss me first.”

She lays one on him.

Well, I’m sure glad Miss Gina got over her disease.

26 comments

  1. Elizabeth Edens - February 26, 2019 6:52 am

    Sweet!

    Reply
  2. Toni Tucker Locke - February 26, 2019 6:59 am

    Praise God for young souls in old bodies AND for old souls in young bodies–especially the ones who share their observations with such incredibly authentic passion!

    Reply
  3. Jack Quanstrum - February 26, 2019 7:57 am

    Such a great story! So much to be gleaned by it. Thanks!

    Reply
  4. MaryJane Breaux - February 26, 2019 10:32 am

    Thank you for sharing Gina and Martin. Absolutely delightful, your writing makes my day.

    Reply
  5. Cookie - February 26, 2019 11:17 am

    I am envious. I don’t know when the fun went out of our marriage, but it’s definitely gone. My husband is obsessed with “fixing” everything that is going on in the world; he writes letters to the editor of our local newspaper and to members of Congress. He watches the news and the stock market all day. He was born during the depression and grew up on a farm. He is an ordained Southern Baptist preacher (retired) and a retired AF Lt Col. I try to see the good in people. I can laugh at the “foibles” of man. I know that things are bad in the US and the world but all we can do is pray and remember that we only have ONE vote. I don’t know if it’s the preacher in him, the military or the influence that his father had on him during the depression.

    Reply
    • Deborah - February 26, 2019 1:53 pm

      My husband keeps telling me “you never smile anymore like when we were first married” We will be celebrating 35 years in April. If our TV is not on FOX news then it is on FOX business channel and he rants and raves over it all. I brought him home a little piglet for valentines day and we have had more fun with him and his interaction with the Yorkie and Chihauhau that we have had in years. So keep trying. Don’t give up. P.S. I do not necessarily recommend a pig. They are messy. But I am smiling more.

      Reply
  6. Ron Payne - February 26, 2019 11:53 am

    This morning your story got me to get up, walk over to my wonderful wife, say I love you and give her a kiss. We’re retirees and married 49 years. Can’t play the guitar or sing though.

    Reply
  7. CARLA J BURGESS - February 26, 2019 12:36 pm

    I love your stories and meanderandings. Sometimes I smile or laugh out loud – today
    tears ran down my cheeks as I thought about the love and times shared with my
    sweetheart in our 54+ years together.before the Lord brought him “home”.
    Thank you.

    Reply
  8. Kristine Wehrheim - February 26, 2019 12:39 pm

    Now that was a good story!

    Reply
  9. Jody - February 26, 2019 12:40 pm

    I am forever grateful that you share these stories. I. am still smiling Thanks Sean

    Reply
  10. Celena - February 26, 2019 12:51 pm

    My heart warms when I read ur stories each morning. Thank you for that!!

    Reply
  11. Edna B. - February 26, 2019 1:14 pm

    Awesome story! As long as you keep sharing these stories, folks like Gina and Martin will live on in our hearts. God Bless you Sean. You have a wonderful day, hugs, Edna B.

    Reply
  12. Kit - February 26, 2019 1:39 pm

    You are a masterful writer. As my friend who introduced your daily writings to me said, you ”keep us grounded.” I love that you are real, basic, and have a wonderful power of expressing what we feel. Thanks for a day-brightener every morning.

    Reply
  13. Budd Dunson - February 26, 2019 3:31 pm

    Best yet

    Reply
  14. Bobby Reeder - February 26, 2019 3:37 pm

    Sean, I admire your insight that sooo many young people can’t relate to.

    Reply
  15. Barbara - February 26, 2019 3:44 pm

    Today is a feel good story, it made me smile and even tear up because it reminded me of my love to whom I was marries 56 years. I feel so blessed because we laughed a lot, sometime at each other or just silly things but we were happy. Keep writing and allowing us to experience those magical sites through your eyes and words.

    Reply
  16. Gwen Monroe - February 26, 2019 4:33 pm

    O my goodness! This just brightened my whole being up! I laughed! So cute! Thanks Sean 💕

    Reply
  17. Becca - February 26, 2019 7:19 pm

    Loved my time travel with you!

    Reply
  18. Christopher Spencer - February 26, 2019 8:13 pm

    One of the most beautiful and funniest love stories I’ve ever read.
    Thanks Sean for sharing it with us.
    Chris

    Reply
  19. April - February 26, 2019 8:57 pm

    Priceless! Keep ’em coming:-)

    Reply
  20. Amy Morissette - February 27, 2019 3:27 am

    Great one!

    Reply
  21. Alice Grimes - February 27, 2019 4:20 pm

    If people still loved and lived like this the world would be a much better place. God bless you Sean and God bless Martin and Miss Gina.

    Reply
  22. Carol - February 27, 2019 4:40 pm

    Love this story. It’s one for the books!!❤️❤️❤️
    Love ya!

    Reply
  23. Connie Havard Ryland - March 22, 2019 1:19 pm

    I love this one. Of course, I typically love everything you write. But I grew up listening to people sit around singing and playing music so this is especially dear to me. All those people are gone on now, except a few who are soon to follow, and the children now didn’t get that experience. I hate it for them, and I miss it. Thank you.

    Reply
  24. Patricia - March 26, 2019 6:36 am

    Even as my honey was dying of a horrible disease we were able to get in one more quick dance and kiss. It will be 5 years soon that he has been gone and it would have been 49 years this year that we would have been married. I love your stories especially those like these that take me back to remembering the good times. Thank you.❤

    Reply
  25. Debbie - March 26, 2019 7:27 am

    Delightful. Simply delightful.

    Reply

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