In 1989, Kate Bush released The Sensual World. On that album is a song called “Never Be Mine.”
Let’s look at the first verse.
“I look at you and seemy life that might have been
Your face just ghostly in the smoke
They’re setting fire to the corn fields as you’re taking me home
The smell of burning fields will now mean you and here”
Kate does something clever with that last line. By associating a scent with a memory, the listener does the same with her song. For almost everyone who listens to “Never Be Mine,” the song becomes a fixed point that conjures a moment in time.
And given the melancholy nature of the track, it’s probably not conjuring a happy moment in time.
This is an extended, revised version of the letter I wrote to go with our Christmas cards this year. I’ve received the occasional text asking, “How are things going?” This is how it’s going.
Of course I started the letter with a reference to “That ‘70s Show.” I’m not clever enough to think of something better. Plus, Cheap Trick performed the opening credits theme song, a cover of “In the Street” by Big Star, for all but the first season of the show. So, Cheap Trick.
It’s early January as I write this. A little over four months ago, we packed up everything we had collected over our 19 years in Ohio (!!!) and hightailed it to Madison (technically Verona, but also Madison, and Middleton schools, it’s weird). We lived in Ohio almost twice as long as I lived in Chicago, but it feels like it was the other way around.
My lovely wife is from Madison. Her mom is still here. Two of our nieces currently go to school here. My sister-in-law is a Senior Lecturer with the UW-Madison School of Business, so she’s here a lot. That is why we’re here. But it’s not the only reason why we’re here.