1982

Below you may listen to (and download if you wish) a new song I wrote for the one I love.

Well… not NEW new… I wrote it last February 14th, which was the 30th anniversary of my first date with Nanci-Lynne Bell (nee Traub).

As the story of our coming together goes, Nance and I, who had been good friends for some time already, simultaneously  suffered  difficult and painful breakups with significant others.  In our support of one another, we were surprised to realize a deep affection growing between us, and on Valentines Day, Feb. 14 1982, we went out for dinner to discuss if it was socially appropriate to let that affection blossom.  Suffice it to say, we were married (voluntarily 🙂 ) seven months later.

That was three beloved children, one beloved foster daughter, two beloved daughters-in-law, one beloved son-in-law, two fantastic grandsons, two adored foster grand-daughters, and one terrific foster grandson ago.   Somewhere in the Bible it says that a man is blessed, whose quiver is full of arrows.  And indeed, I am blessed; I am gratefully satiated. If there were nothing more, it would be enough. Dayanu!

Pez Ladies

Pez Ladies

I could easily rhapsodize about many of Nanci’s attributes: Her beauty speaks for itself. Some of you already know of her capacity for risk and love of adventure;  her willing faithfulness to  duty and obligation; her edgy humor and sometimes searing wit;  her love of gardening and sense of style;  her collection of LadyPez dispensers;  her way with food, with children, and her compassion for the socially marginalized – especially teenagers.

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But, especially for those of you who have appreciated my music over the years, you should probably know it was Nance who first really believed in it. After ten years slugging it out as a side-man in the night clubs, I hung up my guitars  and got a job that for several years provided some financial stability for our family – something we had never known.  But I was miserable.  And it was Nance who convinced me to return to what she knew I was uniquely on the planet for. It was Nance who assured me we would be fine, and that she could handle the vulnerability. It was Nanci who arranged for friends to come over and to pray for our children – to bless them to let their father go, and equally to welcome him home again. And it has been thus ever since.

That was 17 CDs and 1500+  concerts ago.  And although Nance has complained about certain of my peculiarities over the years, she has not ever, not once, complained about the burden of loneliness and labour that her encouragement would cost her.

And so… to the song: 

For a few years I’ve had a partial song kicking about that I could never finish. It was a simple chorus  inspired by a Richard Wilbur  poem that  described so perfectly what I wanted to say:

There’s a certain scope to that long love
Which constant spirits are the keepers of
Though often said to be tame and staid
Is a wild sostenuto of the heart
A passion joined to courtesy and art.

It speaks of a love no longer primarily marked by “high romance” and “bright perseids,” but  rather, by the quality of something made, “like a good fiddle /  like the rose’s scent.”

And so I secretly arranged for us to go for dinner at a favourite restaurant.   And when Nance left for work that morning, I grabbed my guitar,  and the fragment of song I had already started, then added the verses to complete what I wanted to say.

And here it is.  Thanks to Joey Landreth and Murray Pulver for coming down to the studio yesterday to help me record a listenable version – and to Dave Zeglinski for taking the time to record and mix it.

Thank you, Nance for decades of love and friendship. Thanks for partnering with me in this life. I wouldn’t have it any other way… not for a second.

 

click arrow below to hear song:

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Long Love  (Valentines 2012)

music and lyric by Steve Bell
chorus adapted from Richard Wilbur’s poem “For C.”

Well it’s been thirty years of dining with you love
And we’ve been feasting on the stuff that life’s made of
We have shared the finest fare
And we have known the cupboard bare
But it’s been good
So very good

Do you remember how we promised we’d grow old
Now we have children who have children of their own
Because my musing needs a home
I have found a partial poem I think will do
To sing to you:

There’s a certain scope to that long love
Which constant spirits are the keepers of
Though often said to be tame and staid
It’s a wild sostenuto of the heart
A passion joined to courtesy and art
Like a good fiddle, like a rose scent
A stained glass window – or, the firmament
Like a square-dance lady and her square-dance gent
It’s a long love, a long love
Which constant spirits are the keepers of

And may I say you’re still a babe and lookin’ fine
Seems you’ve been cheating on the ravages of time
And I already rue the day
When it’s time for me to say
So-long to you
So-long to you

There’s a certain scope to that long love
Which constant spirits are the keepers of
Though often said to be tame and staid
It’s a wild sostenuto of the heart
A passion joined to courtesy and art
Like a good fiddle, like a rose scent,
A stained glass window – or, the firmament
Like a square-dance lady and her square-dance gent
It’s a long love, a long love
Which constant spirits are the keepers of
It’s a long love, a long love
Which constant spirits are the keepers of

And I already rue the day
When it’s time for me to say
So-long to you
So-long to you

courtesy of my grandson, Luca (4 years).

 

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