I can name so many of them - "Fire and Rain," "You've Got a Friend," "Carolina in my Mind," "Sweet Baby James," and on and on and on.
James Taylor has always been one of our favorite singers / songwriters / guitarists for sure. We grew up with his albums, that became his eight-tracks, that became his cassettes, that became his CDs that became our playlists.
He was my past, still is my now and if I have my way, his music will be prominent at whatever gathering my wife puts together when I'm gone.
On a cold Saturday this past January, Nancy and I dug into our savings and spent the money to purchase two tickets to see him in a McKenzie Arena concert this past Saturday night. It was especially cold for those of us who actually stood in line that morning. (You’re welcome, honey!)
But it was worth every penny. Heck, I'd have paid twice that price.
And four times that much to kill the people who sat behind us.
Not bothered by a warm-up band and lucky enough to have incredible seats, his first three songs had us right where we wanted to be. Reliving our youth of the 70s.
And then they arrived.
Two couples, the age of our own adult children, who WOULD NOT shut up. They talked about the songs, the singer and his band. They talked about their kids, their dinner and where they'd be going for summer vacation. The husbands talked to the wives, the wives talked to each other. They clapped too long for his songs and laughed too loud at his one-liners. I'm guessing they'd had too much, but I don't want to accuse them of that too.
When my wife turned around and asked them to be quiet, they legitimately seemed caught off guard, surprised, with that taken-back look that said, "I had no idea we were bothering anyone." When they sheepishly whispered a small "Sorry!," we thought we were home free.
And we were ... for the rest of that song.
If I tried to sugar-coat their behavior, I'd still have to say they were rude. No awareness of where they were or the people around them and worse, no manners after she pointed it out.
We're blessed at Notre Dame with so many families who still teach - and expect - that their youngsters be polite. That they have manners.
But not all have learned it yet. Our kids are awesome with their "Yes, ma'ams," and "No, ma'ams." But I've heard a few get on the phone and ask a parent, "Will you come get me?"
If I happen to walk by, I make them add, "Please." And then I tell those few, "if I were your dad, I'd tell you yes, and then leave you here."
If you ask them to run an errand, they're glad to do it. Many hold the door for whoever's next but some have no sense that there is a next. The students do a super job at dumping their trash after lunch but through the years more than one has said, "What would the janitorial staff have to do if we didn't leave our trash?!"
I'll take odds that over 90% will walk past a candy wrapper on the floor since they "didn't put it there."
And just like all the patrons at the concert, some know when gabbing is appropriate but some have no idea. Be it in class, at Mass, at concerts, in my office.
Let me say this with my wholehearted appreciation - THANK YOU to all who work so hard and demand so much. Some have suggested that we teach a class in manners and honestly, it's not like I haven't considered it. But for the most part, your dollars are better spent on Physics and Math, theorems and grammar.
They're not all scholars and they're not all athletes ... They're not all musicians and none are adults.
But all can be polite. It will carry them so very far.