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
I can’t forget
How two hearts met
Your arms opened wide
And closed me inside
You took my lips
You took my love
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.