It's 2:00 am. A hot flash just woke me from the dreamiest of sleeps. Yet another side-effect of chemotherapy. It's not ideal, but I'm not about to complain. I haven't slept well since 2013 (the year our first daughter was born) so missing more z's to kill cancer is no big thing. While I was just fanning away the heat, I began thinking about the hot, humid summers of my youth.
I grew up in Birmingham which is a bucolic, storybook city located at the foothills of the Appalachians. It's about a four and half hour drive to the sugar-sand beaches of Orange Beach. Most summers my family would venture to the Alabama coast.
If you haven't traveled to what we lovingly refer to as The Redneck Riviera then you haven't lived. It's paradise.
On of those long drives back in 1994 I suppose I had worn out my Randy Travis Greatest Hits: Volume 2 cassette tape. I vividly recall my step-father tossing it from the driver-side window while we were full-speed ahead on the freeway. The DJ couldn't take any more twang. Before the tape splintered and spiraled down 65-South, the words of the hit song Forever and Ever, Amen had already burned into my brain. This verse in particular always stood out.
They say that time takes it's toll on a body Makes the young girl's brown hair turn grey But honey, I don't care, I ain't in love with your hair And if it all fell out, well, I'd love you anyway
As a tween I found it funny and ironic to imagine an old lady without hair. Now that I am that old(ish) lady, I realize that the wise crooner was singing the God's honest truth. When my handsome husband holds my face in his hands and tells me that he loves me more today than any other moment in our twelve year love affair I know he means it.
Just in case you can't remember the unforgettable chorus, here it is:
I'm gonna love you forever, forever and ever, amen As long as old men sit and talk about the weather As long as old women sit and talk about old men
If you wonder how long I'll be faithful I'll be happy to tell you again I'm gonna love you forever and ever Forever and ever, amen
Mr. Travis, you nailed it. Honestly, in terms of relationships not much has changed since the song was first released in 1987. I can't tell you how many times I have been reminded of those lyrics since first receiving my diagnosis. At the bathroom sink while brushing my teeth I'll find myself humming the catchy country tune. While rocking my children to bed at night it's there on my breath. It's become a mantra of sorts. And when I feel overwhelmed with my battle and the toll it's taking on my family I will simply close my eyes and repeat the chart-hitting line, Forever and Ever, Amen.