Thursday, August 6, 2009


Romance has never been one of my strong points. Mary and I carried on a long range relationship while I lived in Nashville, and she lived in Cincinnati. When I was transferred to Birmingham I told her that we needed to break off the relationship because the distance was too far, and we needed to get on with our lives. She called me the next night and said that I could break up with her, but she wasn't going to break up with me. I was speechless, but I figured that time and distance would eventually change her mind. Instead, it was my mind that got changed. (a pattern that's been repeated many times over the years since) When I finally proposed to Mary I was drunk, and I called her collect from a phone booth in Birmingham Alabama at 2:30 in the morning. The date was September 19, 1980, thus the title. This is the story of that night:

On nine one nine one nine eight oh,
Seems like a long long time ago.

A young man searching for his mate
Took off with friends to find a date.

To markets where the meat is found,
He and his friends were traveling ‘round.

And in his drinking here and there
Saw pretty girls with shining hair.

Their shapely figures clad for lust
With necklines plunged revealing bust.

The stock is good his buddies said.
Who’ll be the first to get one bed?

They talked and mingled in the crowd
Of alcohol and music loud.

With smiling faces all around,
The one night stands were lost and found.

Amid the glitter blurred and bright,
The young man looked upon the sight.

Though dance and laughter did abound,
An emptiness was all around.

An emptiness as cold as stone,
And suddenly he’s all alone.

Despite his vision blurred by drink,
The Spirit prompted him to think

Of one he loved though far away,
Who held his heart in deepest sway.

Last call was heard, the crowd dispersed,
The fast lane life, it now seemed cursed.

While driving home he found a phone.
Out in a parking lot alone.

He stumbled in and fumbled for,
A dime or two and maybe more.

Just change enough to call collect,
He knew he’d have to be direct.

And ask the one who held his heart,
To see if married life she’d start.

With he as husband she as wife
The two would have a happy life.

“It’s two AM!” he heard her say,
Why are you up this time of day?

“I need to know before I sleep,
If home with me you’d like to keep?”

“Before this night I was unsure,
But now I know our love is pure.”

Far better than the market brand,
Of kiss and tell, and one night stands.

I may be drunk, but clear I see,
The Lord created you for me.

God rescued me that fateful night,
And showed me that our love was right.

Now life for eight is what it meant,
I thank you for your sweet consent.

How hard it is to see the light,
When blinded by our selfish might.

Where pleasure, lust, and greed abound,
No sacrificial love is found.

The glitter and the fast lane life,
Leads to divorce and endless strife.

When all the focus is on me,
Our eyes are blinded, we can’t see.

True love, desire of every heart,
Comes from respecting every part.

Our bodies are the temple of,
The One who made us for this love.

How fortunate for you and me,
The Lord, He gave us eyes to see.

To recognize through all the din,
The way to make this life begin.

Walk hand in hand and side by side,
With Jesus as our trusted guide.

Now many years have long since past,
Still loving her my heart beats fast.

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