Author: Ramos, Jean

Should Old Acquaintance Be Forgot?

As the year 2009 comes to a close, no doubt many of us will bring in the New Year to the strains of Auld Lang Syne. I only know the first verse and chorus. I have sung it many times not really knowing what the words mean. After a little research, I found that it’s a Scottish song that dates back to 1788, written by Robert Burns. An English translation of the words, auld lang syne, would be “times gone by.” In modern American terms, we might say, “For old time’s sake,” or “In the olden days.” Here’s the English translation:

Auld Lang Syne

Should old acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot, and auld lang syne? [times gone by]

For auld lang syne, my dear, for auld lang syne,
We’ll take a cup of kindness yet, for auld lang syne.

We two have run about the slopes, and picked the daisies fine,
But we’ve wandered many a weary foot, since auld lang syne.

We two have paddled in the stream, from morning sun till dine [dinner time]
But seas between us broad have roared since auld lang syne.

And there’s a hand my trusty friend! And give us a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll take a right good-will draught, for auld lang syne.

My daughter told me she downloaded some freebies onto her iPod for her work-out and was surprised to hear a bluegrass instrumental version of Auld Lang Syne. Actually the lyrics would lend themselves very well to Bluegrass or Country. We love to sing songs that bring back memories of days gone by, our old home place, the old folks at home, old pals and lost loves. Here’s just a sampling:

My father and his brothers used to sing, an old T. Texas Tyler song, “Remember Me.” Here’s an excerpt.

Remember me, when the candle lights are gleaming
Remember me at the close of a long, long day
It would be so sweet, when all alone I’m dreaming
Just to know, you still remember me

The sweetest songs belong to lovers in the gloaming
The sweetest days were the days that used to be
The saddest words I ever heard were words of parting
When you said, “Sweetheart, remember me.”

One of my favorite songs with the same theme is one I learned from the Trio Album done by Dolly, Emmylou and Linda Ronstadt, “Those Memories of You.”

Those memories of you still haunt me
Every night when I lay down
I’ll always love you, little darling
Until the day they lay me down

In a song like that, you feel there’s no chance that the old acquaintance will be forgotten. There are people who drift into our lives for a season and then disappear, and after a short time, we can’t even remember their name. There are also those people whom we’d like to forget for one reason or another. As in the Dailey and Vincent song, “River of Time,” the sentiment is, I’d like to forget because the memory is painful.

“River of Time”

Like a shot through the heart, like a knife cold and sharp
The cold winds of loneliness blow
But they say that time can heal heart and mind
If somehow I could let you go

Maybe I will forget you, it’s true
You’ll never again cross my mind
The day that my journey is through
And I drift down the river of time

Sometimes, when we hear a certain song, it triggers a memory of a particular person or event. If I mention the song, “Sittin’ on Top of the World,” most of you would think of Lloyd Butler and would picture him sitting there with his thumb and middle finger on the E strings of his old guitar and would even remember the rattle of the low E string when he plucked out the bass run. Another song would trigger a memory of Wayne Nolan and bring a fond recollection of the hospitality that he and Betty showed to everyone who entered their camp.

Every December, when I sit down to write out my Christmas letters, I get out my three old address books. (When one gets full I just get a new one and keep the old ones). It is a bittersweet season, as I come across the names of long departed friends and relatives. When a loved one passes away, I can’t bear to X their name out in my book, I just put a date of death next to their name. The address books serve as a record book, a family history, a diary of sorts. My brother Wayne served in the military during the Viet Nam War, his military address is still recorded in one of my books. When my sister Janice remarried after being widowed for many years, I happily wrote her new name in another book. It was with a mixture of joy and sadness that I entered the new addresses of my daughters when they left home for the first time. The joy came in knowing that they were getting on with making their dreams come true and sadness in knowing that we would never again share the same address.

In answer the question, “Should old acquaintance be forgot,” I would answer, “Sometimes, but most of the time we don’t want to forget those who walk through our memories.” Last week, as I wrote Christmas letters and cards, I came across many names of people who are no longer a part of my life, either because of death or because I somehow lost touch with them. As I came across their names, I paused to reflect on their lives and the part they played in mine. Old acquaintances were brought to mind.

Since joining CBA, my husband Terry and I have met so many wonderful people and developed some warm friendships. We look forward to seeing many of you at the 48 Hour Jam in Bakersfield, taking a cup of kindness and creating some new memories. We wish you a New Year filled with peace, joy and contentment.
Posted:  12/27/2009

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