Blog 126 Already, again

Blog 126 Already, again

Another posting so quickly, I am becoming overly loquacious here. Perhaps it is the getting-old process that so many memories pop up of times gone by. Many friends and acquaintances forward items that are sometimes thoughtworthy and trigger memories.

Something arrived in the mailbox this afternoon, copied here, and dedicated to those from our class who moved away after graduation and never returned. It was written after someone watched “Castle on the Hill” sung by Ed Sheerin. I watched the video and found the music unpleasant, but the words tell the story. The writer watched the video and wrote his “Castles of Corn” essay. Following that, I will add the lyrics to “Castle on the Hill.”

Castles of Corn

    I just finished watching the video of Ed Sheeran’s song, Castle on the Hill. And while there weren’t any castles near my hometown in central Indiana, the lyrics certainly succeeded in rekindling memories of that place and of my adventures with friends whom I would leave behind so many years ago…and of an emptiness in my life. There are times when the gravitational pull of that place is so strong that I feel it in my heart. And yet, I resist.

I expect that my story—as Ed’s—is rather commonplace. One or two from a band of friends who have been together from childhood to late teen years follow a path that leads away from home, while the others remain to make their lives in or near that harbor of their youth. And, in time, the members of those groups drift away from one another.

I was one who followed a path which led me far from home, and over the years I’ve lost touch with my band of friends. But there has been occasional—and painful—news which has reached me: my best male friend was killed in Viet Nam; another died of cirrhosis, another lost a leg, hope and his life; one couple divorced; and my very dearest friend died as result of a stroke. I think that a part of why I resist returning to my hometown is a fear of confronting the haunting memories and void which their absence has created.

Unlike Ed, I never saw a castle on a hill until I was an old man. In my youth I saw oceans of corn and soybeans and forests of oaks, maples and sycamores in the glorious colors of Autumn. I close my eyes and I can see myself cruising the streets in summertime, playing golf and swimming in a body of water generously called “Cool Lake.” I hear the sounds of the Nighthawks flying over the town square, and the school band playing our Alma Mater. And I hear laughter, and singing along with the radio (tuned, of course, to “WLS in Chicago”). I remember slipping out to dusty country roads to drink Peppermint Schnapps or PBR, and staying out late…very late. And as I looked out over those fields I tried to see the future, but it was covered in the humid mist of early mornings.

Although most of us our band didn’t have much, we had each other. I don’t believe any of us dared think that there wouldn’t be a time when that wasn’t to be so. I know that I never imagined I would see all that I’ve seen, do some of the things I’ve done, or become the person I am today. I think that some of the best of me was shaped by those I left behind. And though I’m fortunate to have several people in my life whom I regard as friends, our shared experiences are very different from those of my youth—those whose friendship and love that I feel I betrayed, and whose loss leaves a painful emptiness in my heart.

7/20

Lyrics to Castle on the Hill

When I was six years old I broke my leg
I was running from my brother and his friends
And tasted the sweet perfume of the mountain grass I rolled down
I was younger then, take me back to when I

Found my heart and broke it here
Made friends and lost them through the years
And I’ve not seen the roaring fields in so long, I know I’ve grown
But I can’t wait to go home

I’m on my way
Driving at 90 down those country lanes
Singing to “Tiny Dancer”
And I miss the way you make me feel, and it’s real
We watched the sunset over the castle on the hill

Fifteen years old and smoking hand-rolled cigarettes
Running from the law through the backfields and getting drunk with my friends
Had my first kiss on a Friday night, I don’t reckon that I did it right
But I was younger then, take me back to when

We found weekend jobs, when we got paid
We’d buy cheap spirits and drink them straight
Me and my friends have not thrown up in so long, oh how we’ve grown
But I can’t wait to go home

I’m on my way
Driving at 90 down those country lanes
Singing to “Tiny Dancer”
And I miss the way you make me feel, and it’s real
We watched the sunset over the castle on the hill
Over the castle on the hill
Over the castle on the hill

One friend left to sell clothes
One works down by the coast
One had two kids but lives alone
One’s brother overdosed
One’s already on his second wife
One’s just barely getting by
But these people raised me and I can’t wait to go home

And I’m on my way, I still remember
These old country lanes
When we did not know the answers
And I miss the way you make me feel, it’s real
We watched the sunset over the castle on the hill
Over the castle on the hill
Over the castle on the hill

 

 

 

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