The heart of a man

During a recent visit to a rehab facility, Charlie asked me to play “Tenderly,” an aptly named standard from 1946.

I might cry, he told me. And he did, as soon as I started the song.

After the final quiet chords faded, he called out “Thank you” and waved me over to his lunch table. When I got there, he indicated with a crooked finger that he wanted me to move closer, like he had something private to tell me. I bent down. He whispered, “That song was the cause of my five children.”

More than 50 years later, the old-fashioned, sentimental lyrics still moved him:

The shore was kissed
By sea and mist
Tenderly

I can’t forget
How two hearts met
Breathlessly

Your arms opened wide
And closed me inside
You took my lips
You took my love
So tenderly

I’ve had the privilege of meeting many older gentlemen who are sweet romantics like Charlie, especially when it comes to music. The songs I play stir their emotions. As another octogenarian once told me, hand-on-heart, while we were talking about his upcoming wedding, “My body might be old and weak, but I can still love.”

Copyright © 2015 by Paulette Bochnig Sharkey
All rights reserved.

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

5 Responses to The heart of a man

  1. Judie says:

    This brought tears to my eyes.

  2. Sharie Van Gilder says:

    Another touching story, thank you so much

  3. Jessa says:

    That’s very sweet 🙂

  4. Sharon Regan says:

    I’m waiting for your windows to open so I can hear the music too. Sharon (:

  5. June ritchie says:

    Awe!! I have a client who is in her 80s, she and her hubby just celebrated their 60 anniversary. She said their dance at the party was too this song. Her comment, we might be old, but when we danced to that song we were kids again!!!

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