Empty Garden


Actually this posting is about another circle...and it's all about me!

That, of course, would be a lie, but, then, I've been telling a lot of lies the past seven months.

No...no lies on julieanewell.com; the lies have occurred during my day-to-day life...misleading responses to friends and colleagues who kept asking when I was going to retire...asking, that is, when they weren't telling me that I needed to keep working...for the distraction, afraid that retirement would bring about my hermit phase. Make up your minds, folks!

My opening, that "it's all about me", WOULD be a lie. It's NEVER been all about me...it's ALWAYS been about Julie. (Okay, that's from MY perspective; for Julie, it was ALWAYS about Ronnie. Maybe that's why it worked...for over 38 glorious years!)

I've already related the biggest circle...the circumstances of Julie's arrival and departure from Cairo High School. Well, after laying Julie to rest, I went back...but today, June 3, 2008, I finally "turn out the lights" on that era.

Ron's Retirement "Speech"

As I was typing this, I thought a song reference might be appropriate...and, of course, Elton John came to mind. My first impulse was "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road", one of Julie's favorite albums/songs. My thought was that it would provide the perfect "closure" to one of Julie's favorite movies of all time..."The Wizard of Oz". Her favorite scene was when Dorothy started out for Oz, with the assembled cast singing "Follow the Yellow Brick Road". (Julie could do one helluva Munchkin imitation! Of course, Julie WAS one of those "short people" that Randy Newman made famous...but we won't go there...at least not today.) However, when I looked up the lyrics to "Goodbye", they definitely did NOT fit our lives, although the country bumpkin in the song hearkens to my simple ways. But, the rest of it, nada.

Then, for some reason, and I honestly don't know why, another song popped into my mind. This song doesn't really fit in that it wasn't big on Julie's hit list, nor mine for that matter. However, it was Elton John's ode to his dear lost friend, John Lennon..."Empty Garden (Hey Hey Johnny)".

John Lennon is my favorite singer/composer of all time, and Julie was right behind me in her love of his music. Still remember the night - December 8, 1980 - me watching Monday Night Football, Julie asleep next to me. Howard Cosell interrupts the play-by-play to announce that John Lennon had been shot (by a deranged fan)...that John Lennon was dead. I was stunned. I awakened Julie to break the news...and we both cried. As John Lennon had prophesied in his song to his son, Sean, in the album released shortly before..."Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." (Yeah, THAT song was big in our lives...)

I wear three pieces of jewelry...my wedding band and two items from the John Lennon "collection". One is a chain from which dangles one word "Imagine"; the other a ring emblazoned with a heart surrounded by two words, "Real Love", both gifts from Julie.

So, with apologies to Elton John (and Bernie Taupin), I am reproducing the lyrics to "Empty Garden" below (taking the liberty to make a few editing changes) to express my feelings as I reflect upon Cairo High School...and the emptiness it now holds for me.

What happened here as the Cairo sunset disappeared
I found an empty garden among the flagstones there
Who lived here
She must have been a gardener that cared a lot
Who weeded out the tears and grew a good crop
Now it all looks strange
It's funny how one insect can damage so much grain

And what's it for, this little empty garden by the schoolhouse door
And in the cracks along the sidewalk nothin' grows no more
Who lived here
She must have been a gardener that cared a lot
Who weeded out the tears and grew a good crop
And we are so amazed, we're crippled and we're dazed
A gardener like that one no one can replace

And I've been knockin' but no one answers
And I've been knockin' most of the day
Oh and I've been callin' oh hey hey Julie
Can't you come out to play

And through their tears some say she farmed her best in younger years
But she'd have said the roots have grown stronger if only she could hear
Who lived there
She must have been a gardener that cared a lot
Who weeded out the tears and grew a good crop
And now we pray for rain and with every drop that pours
We hear, we hear your name Can't you come out, can't you come out to play
Julie, can't you come out to play, in your empty garden