Dearest Rachel –
Thanks to the drive down to Nashville and back, I’ve discovered that my iPhone contains a number of songs that I wasn’t really even aware of. When the two of us are listening to them on an infinite random shuffle, it’s interesting to hear something where one of us would comment how unexpected it was to hear that as part of the feed. To be sure, it may be a part of the whole Apple Music hookup that came with our new plan, but still, there have been a lot of surprises throughout the past twenty-four hours spent in the car.
Sometimes, the selections make a little bit of distant sense when I contemplate it; I think the occasional Burl Ives tune must be from your own collection, for instance. A lot of the other big band music, however, isn’t quite as obvious to me. But it does sound like those days when I was growing up, listening to my parents’ radio choices back in junior high and high school.
Oddly enough, the tune that got me started on this letter wasn’t so much a big band recording, exactly, as much as it was in that style. In fact, it was probably again part of your collection, as you were the one with an affinity for Billy Joel. But I didn’t expect a concert album of his to include a rendition – and an instrumental one, at that – of “Auld Lang Syne.”
When it was playing – and consider how odd it sounds to hear it as we’re driving through our village in the heat of a late June afternoon; it’s as out of place, for much the same reason, as a Christmas carol – Daniel asked me what the connection was between that song and New Year’s Eve; why did this one in particular become the traditional music to send off the old year, and welcome the new? Now, it’s one thing to ask such a question in this day and age, when you can literally look anything up on the internet at a moment’s notice – how I envy parents these days, who can respond immediately whenever they get a ‘why is the sky blue?’ type question from their kids. Back when Daniel was little, we had to just… come up with an answer that sounded plausible, but for which we had no proof that it was true at the time.
And in fact, this was a similar circumstance, as one can’t (or at least, shouldn’t) attempt to access the internet while one is driving – I don’t know how he does it, but Daniel has a knack for asking these imponderables at just the right (or wrong, depending on your perspective) moment. All I could do was to mention that the title was something along the lines of ‘long time since,’ and the lyric about ‘tak[ing] a cup of kindness yet’ suggested a toast to those who’d left the singers one way or another throughout the year, with a pledge to not forget them as they became part of their collective past. I mentioned how this was the main reason why I used to collect those year-end roundup magazines, back in the day.
Not that I’m about to do extensive research now, as he seemed satisfied with the response (and that’s the whole point of coming up with an answer in most cases: that the questioner is appeased, rather than that the answer is actually right), but it turns out that it’s not that far removed from reality. To be sure, the song’s current ubiquity has to do with Guy Lombardo and his band, who performed New Year’s Eve concerts from 1929 to 1976 (or 1930 to 1977, depending on which side of the new year one counts). This was their band’s signature song with which they concluded every concert (and according to him, it was traditional among many Scottish-Canadian musical groups back in the day), but since his band was so associated with the holiday, the song similarly gained an association with it as well.
Anyway, following this discussion (as well as picking up a small dinner – no point eating too much after having had lunch at the folks’ in lieu of dinner – they’d thought we might still be traveling home today, and made other commitments), we drove home to look at another case of ‘out with the old, in with the new’; specifically, the reason we needed to spend the day at the folks’ in the first place:
That’s our new circuit board, evidently, with the old one languishing on the floor, disconnected, by way of comparison. There seem to be a few more connections on the old board than the new one, but I’m guessing they aren’t done with the new one yet. There are also plenty of slots remaining for future upgrades, which is one of the reasons the old one needed to be taken out in the first place – that, and it was woefully out of code.
So, out goes that one, and in comes this one. It’s all a part of the remodeling process. I know I keep saying it, but it doesn’t make it any less true from the repetition; I wish you were here to see it all. I don’t know whether you would be necessarily excited by it all – for all I know, you might be at times every bit as resistant to the changes as Daniel can be from time to time – but I’d like to think you’d be enthused at the changes (even relatively behind-the-scenes upgrades like this) as they unfold.
For what it’s worth, there’s been another ‘out with the old’ situation going on since returning from Tennessee, but I think it might actually merit it’s own storyline, as it involves a few other people along the way. It might not even be until after the weekend has passed, depending on the kind of time I have in order to write you. I’ll leave it at that, and let you try to figure it out; if you do keep an eye on me like I always ask, you probably already know about it. Anyway, I’ll go into more details later on.
Until then, continue to keep an eye on us, and wish us luck; we’re still gonna need it.