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Dear Bobbie (Do You Remember?)

Aileen and I were blessed, when we first began dating, to be members of a church where there were many elderly couples. They were couples who exemplified so many beautiful qualities. Christians for decades, they shone with the light of Christ and were living proof that, though physical beauty fades with the years, true inner beauty grows with every year spent in and through Christ. They had a life, a glow, a presence that drew us to them. I don’t know that I’ve ever been to a church where the young people were so eager to spend time with the elderly. We loved them and wanted to be like them.

Even today Aileen and I remember these couples fondly and remember what a joy it was just to be with them and just to see them living their lives together, more in love with each other in old age than at any other time. As the years went by they grew increasingly dependent on each other and we could see that the two more and more became one.

I thought of these couples again when I recently bumped into “Dear Bobbie,” a song by the band Yellowcard. I really know nothing of the band beyond this one song, so if they are really militant fundamentalist Mormons, well, don’t take this as an endorsement of them or of any of their other music. The song is based on a letter from the singer’s grandfather that was addressed to his wife of 58 years. It is structured around three portions of the letter read by the now 87 year old man. He reads them in a trembly, distinctly ancient voice. But he speaks of days long gone by—“I remember pleated skirts, black and white saddle shoes.” He speaks of the things he remembers about the woman he loves; the woman who has shared his life. While I love the lyrics, they really are somewhat impotent without the accompanying music, so you may want to blow $0.99 at iTunes just to listen in.

Dear Bobbie,

Do you remember when you were young and very pretty? I do, I remember pleated skirts, black and white saddle shoes. Do you remember dancing half the night? I do, I still think of you when we dance, although we cant jitterbug as we did then.

Do you remember when
How long has it been
1945 you opened my blue eyes
To see a whole new life
Do you remember when
I told you this that night,
That if you’re by my side
When everyday begins
I’ll fall for you again
I made a promise when
I told you this that night

I’ll be fine
When I die, then I die loving you
It’s alright, I’ll be fine
When I die then I die loving you
Loving you, loving you

Do you remember the times we would give up on each other and get back together? We finally was married in 1949. We drove the yellow convertible on our honeymoon. Do you remember? I do.

Life has led us here
Together all these years
This house that we have made
Holds 20,000 days
And memories we’ve saved
Since life has led us here

And I’ll be fine
Cause when I die, then I die loving you
It’s alright, I’ll be fine
Cause when I die then I die loving you
Loving you, loving you

I’m coming home to you
Slipping off my shoes
Resting in my chair
See you standing there
The silver in your hair
I’m coming home to you
When I lay tonight, when I close my eyes
I know the sun will rise
Here or the next life
As long as you’re still mine, then its alright

I’ll be fine
Cause when I die, then I die loving you
It’s alright, I’ll be fine
Cause when I die then I die loving you
Loving you, loving you

You have gray hair now but you’re a beautiful women and the years have been good to both of us. We walk slow now, but we still have each other. The glue of love is still bonding us together. Love is what I remember. Do you remember?

There is something so haunting, so beautiful, about hearing a lifetime of memories shared between people that had been knit together for so long. This song captures well that beauty. It reminds me of those wonderful old men and women who invested in us when we were so young and just beginning the long journey together. It reminds me of the way they looked at each other, deep into each other’s eyes, seeing there so much that they loved and treasured. I can’t help but wonder what I’ll remember.