Deep in December, it’s nice to remember

The food servers I observe scurrying around dining rooms in retirement and nursing homes are mainly young people, doing what I imagine is a low-paying job, perhaps part-time to pay college tuition. Some of these servers bring plated food and pour coffee with grace and enthusiasm; others do not. Occasionally one of them will express appreciation for the background music I play during the meal. It brightens the atmosphere, and makes their work easier. They tell me there are fewer complaints about the food when I’m there.

One day, a perky 20-something woman approached me at the piano at the end of a song and said, “I’ve heard that one!” I could tell she was surprised to recognize a tune among the oldies I play. “But I can’t remember the title.”

We had a laugh when I informed her that the song was “Try to Remember” from The Fantasticks.

The original off-Broadway production of The Fantasticks opened in 1960 and ran for 42 years. Harvey Schmidt wrote the music, Tom Jones the lyrics (not the Welsh singer Tom Jones, of “What’s New Pussycat” fame).

Jerry Orbach, better known these days as Detective Lennie Briscoe on Law and Order, played the role of El Gallo, and was the first to sing the show’s lovely signature song, “Try to Remember”:

Try to remember when life was so tender
That no one wept except the willow.
Try to remember when life was so tender
That dreams were kept beside your pillow.
Try to remember when life was so tender
That love was an ember about to billow.
Try to remember, and if you remember,
Then follow…

Here’s a tribute to Orbach, featuring his rendition of the song:

Copyright © 2014 by Paulette Bochnig Sharkey
All rights reserved.

This entry was posted in Music history, Singers, Volunteering and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Deep in December, it’s nice to remember

  1. June ritchie says:

    Funny he was so talented and if asked I would of said,oh yes the guy from law and order,

  2. Jessa says:

    Haha, how ironic.

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