Whenever I hear the Allman Brothers break into the opening chords of Blue Sky, my thoughts invariably wander to memories of Robin.
She worked in an arcade making change from an apron of many pockets stuffed with coins on the Wildwood boardwalk not far from where I worked on Fun Pier.
She was on the cusp of 16, with hair the colour of burnished gold that cascaded past her waist, and eyes that matched the surf along the New Jersey shoreline on the most sun-soaked summer day.
Her voice was the sound of innocence, tinged with a Philadelphia inflection that turned the word water to wooder in the most delightful way.
We became more than friends, sharing shattered hearts and dreams derailed by cruel twists of fate and my wandering eye as the years piled up upon each other.
Somehow we survived through the twists and turns neither of us could foresee, sending off letters laboriously penned in longhand, sharing joys and sorrows from one end of the continent to the other.
We have managed to survive the tests of time, even though we haven’t shared a smile in person for 35 of the past 45 years.
Robin will always remain a special friend, and I am forever indebted to her for that song that always takes us back to what was, and what may have been.
Music has a way of weaving together the thoughts, memories and feelings that are sometimes too difficult to describe in words, or any other way. Seeing the Paul Butterfield Blues band on my 17th birthday with my friend George in my last week of high school in 1967 is a seminal experience that has influenced what we listen to in varying degrees to this day.
The bride and I share songs that will keep us connected forever, whether we are in tune with the moment, or carried away to memories, times, people and places that have forever shaped who we are.
Since you no doubt wonder where I’m going with this, I must confess these musings were spawned in part by the wedding of the daughter of friends Andre and Karen yesterday.
Surrounded by much younger friends of the bride and groom, we all shared the songs husband and wife to be had chosen to mark their special day.
Even though the words and melodies were mostly unfamiliar to me, I find myself thinking of the links those songs forged for them on the day they exchanged rings.
To Angela and Shane, may the best days await as you watch your beautiful daughter grow up before your eyes. May you one day attend her wedding and hear the special songs she chooses for her day. And may there be many, many magical moments ahead whenever you hear your version of “You’re my blue sky, you’re my sunny day. Lord you know it makes me high when you turn your love my way.”
Rick Stiebel is a Sooke resident and semi-retired journalist.