This morning a dear friend (more like a sister) posted this meme on FaceBook. The first thing that caught my attention was that this woman was wearing purple. I then automatically sang the words beside her. It wasn’t until I was finished singing that I saw the accompanying message: ONLY share if you sang the words. My message to my friend was “you HAVE to sing it!”
My friend posted back that this was the very first record she owned.
This memory took me back to my eighth birthday. We had just moved to the west coast from the prairies in the summer and were trying to settle into a new neighbourhood. My parents bought me a record player and my sister got me two singles, “The Letter” by the Box Tops and “Incense and Peppermints” by the Strawberry Alarm Clock. What stands out is the album that came wrapped with the player – “Shilo”, by Neil Diamond!
Neil Diamond was the first love of my life, and I have to say that even though I love my dear sweet husband always, and forever, Neil will have a small place in my heart. However, I can guarantee that Kay will not be reading any further here because she isn’t too fond of him LOL!
The song “Shilo” spoke to my heart because while I had a few friends in the neighbourhood, I felt a bit like a third wheel. It was hard being at a new school in a new province, and I was very awkward both physically and emotionally. My Dad was home more than he was before, but he still worked very hard, and it was hard to get close to him. My Mom was not well a lot so, all in all, I felt very lonely. I would make up fantasies in my head, much like Shilo was in the song.
It didn’t hurt that Diamond was pretty good looking and had a very sexy singing and talking voice. I would go into my room and play that album over and over.
In 1972, Neil Diamond came to town, and I was allowed to go with a friend to the concert. My parents were nearby at the horse races, but it still felt like a big adventure on our own. Both of us fell deeply in love with this idol. He talked as if he was in your living room just you and him, instead of a huge crowd in a hockey arena!
I received money for my birthday that year and couldn’t wait to buy the “Hot August Night” album which came about from the New York Concert that started the tour we saw. Those songs are ingrained in me forever – for the most part, that is a good thing unless you include:
“You were cryin’ in your pretzels
When I met you
You were washing
All the salt away from the dough
You were cryin’ in your pretzels
And I’ll never forget you
But, baby, just why I’ll ever know
Cryin’ in your pretzels
Cryin’ in your beer
Cryin’ on the table
That’s where I found you dear”
Yep, those are lyrics from “Soggy Pretzels”, written totally from memory. LOL
Seriously, Diamond’s music spoke to me many times during my life in ways that were comforting and sometimes downright spooky. I saw him in concert a total of 9 times. For Christmas, a couple of years ago my hubby gave me a hand-made voucher for two tickets to see Neil Diamond for number ten. I was excited at first; however, when thinking of the trip into town, wading through all the people, sitting in hard seats for over two hours I decided that there were other things I would like to do. Neil wasn’t the same as those early years and neither was I.
Instead, we went out for a nice dinner and saw a movie (can’t remember which one) and I was content with my gift because it was about spending time with my REAL love. Maybe Neil was my first, but he doesn’t hold a candle to the man I married!