I recall my first impressions of the song. I wanted to hug Linda. The song was so melancholy and yet she sang it with conviction. She knew. It wasn’t that she had anything against the institution; it’s just that her choices and experiences would never lead her down the aisle.
Maybe she should’ve gone easy on that conviction.
I heartily joined in with Linda and Dolly. It was my chance to harmonize with two of the greats. In the basement of my family’s home in Hamilton, Ontario, I was their Emmylou. From an early age, I’d envisioned getting married and having six kids. Too many “Brady Bunch” viewings, I suppose. But singing this song gave me the first thought of “expect[ing] to live single all the days of my life.”
It would take several more years before I accepted the fact I was gay. Ah, yes. No wonder the song resonated so much. Gay. No marriage. In my years grappling with coming out, it was part of the equation, a matter-of-fact element of self-acceptance.
And, my, how things have changed! I’ve had the right to marry for a decade in Canada. And now, if I my immigration papers are ever successfully processed, I will be able to marry anywhere in the United States. Even Texas! Not that I’d ever go back there.
I can marry!
As a right, it deserves the exclamation mark.
But, in reality, it warrants standard punctuation. I can marry. Ho hum. It doesn’t change a whole lot. Here I am, still singing along with Linda.
Linda understands. Some of us make poor choices. Sometimes we get it all wrong. There are no magic potions to entice a Prince Charming. It’s days like this when Linda provides an entire soundtrack—“Poor, Poor Pitiful Me”, “When Will I Be Loved”, “The Track of My Tears”, “Blue Bayou”, “Desperado”.
Dammit, the words still resonate. Walk with me, Linda. If you’re going to awaken me, you’re stuck with me for the whole day.