Martha and I formally and officially met for the first time on January 18, 1995, in the choir room at the church here in Georgetown. We talked a bit after practice that evening, had our first date two-and-a-half weeks later, and were married within eighteen months. However, one time almost eighteen years earlier, not only were we together in the same room, we very likely had been sitting within ten feet of one another.
Dad had a good friend, Marion “Mac” McElveen, from his seminary days in the 50s. By 77, Dad was not in the ministry, so one weekend that spring, we traveled down I-71 from Walton to New Albany, IN, just across the river from Louisville. We spent Saturday evening at a hotel, and then on Sunday morning, attended services at Central Christian Church in New Albany, where Mac was pastor. I very clearly remember that we did this, but the only scene I have stored in my memory banks now is getting to swim at the hotel pool. (A couple of years ago, I discovered the place I was staying for a bridge tournament near New Albany was the same one my family used in 77; I was able to tell by looking at the pool area.)
I learned soon after Martha and I started dating that she had grown up in New Albany. Yes, Central had been her home church, and so I told her about Dad’s friendship with Mac and the time that my family had visited. Not too long after that, Martha’s folks gave the McElveens, who still lived in the area, a call. Mac’s wife Ruth told them her recollection was that the Harrises had sat immediately behind the Lutzes that day. Did our fathers shake hands at some point? Might our mothers have greeted one another? Did Amy and I acknowledge Martha and and her sister Ruth? One wonders. Martha has told me she does remember a time when it was announced that some friends of the McElveens were in attendance, but doesn’t have any idea now when that occurred. Could it have been us?
I’m virtually certain that this past Tuesday—May 15—was the 41st anniversary of that moment when maybe, just maybe, Martha and I encountered one another. The pictures above are school photos from the fall of 77, but I imagine they provide a decent approximation of what we looked like the previous May (there’s NO WAY I’m sharing my 7th grade picture from fall 76).
A couple of weeks ago, when I realized that there was a very good chance a mid-May 77 countdown might be upcoming to tie into this tale, I looked over the charts for an appropriate selection to incorporate into a post, just in case. I landed on the schmaltzy “Love’s Grown Deep,” which is at #31, heading toward a peak of #20. I purchased the single sometime during its chart run, and it’s fair to say that at the time I liked it better than “I Like Dreamin’” (which I also had bought that year)—I’m not sure that’s the case anymore. Of course I had no real idea what Kenny Nolan was talking about—I was 13!—but he made it sound like a pretty happy thing, even if I now think it’s a little overdone.
Last Saturday morning, walking back to the car after attending my college’s graduation service, I realized the full, serendipitous nature of that choice of song.
My 45 collection wasn’t all that big during the heyday of WQSR, so I often looked to B-sides as a way to expand the playlist. I found some real gems—this makes me think I should start an occasional series called something like “great flipsides I have known.” The B to “Love’s Grown Deep” isn’t one that grabbed me—I doubt I played it more than a couple of times—but its title stuck enough to land back in my head this past week.