“Cracklin’ Rosie” filled the empty spaces of my car.  I cranked up the volume and started to sing along.

Wait.  What?

I don’t sing Neil Diamond.  The thought hit me in the middle of “Play it now, Play it now, my baby….”

I said to myself, “Self, why don’t you sing Neil Diamond?  Why don’t you have any Neil Diamond music on your playlists?”

I’ll tell me why.  When Neil’s  “Girl You’ll Be a Woman Soon” and “Solitary Man” climbed the 60s charts, “Happy Birthday” was my favorite song.

When Diamond’s career peaked in the 70s with “Sweet Caroline,” “Song Sung Blue,” and “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers,” I was groovin’ to the Jackson 5 and The Osmond Brothers.

Neil’s voice sneaked into my radio now and then—usually via Casey Kasem—but I could take his songs or leave them.

Not anymore.

I can’t explain my newfound respect for Diamond as a singer and songwriter.  All I know is my “ah-ha” moment landed his songs on my permanent playlist.

If David Bowie heard this, he would belt out, “Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes,” though I believe his 1971 hit was more about adapting to change.

My mother always told me people never change.

When we dated, Gary had a reputation for academics and athleticism, but timeliness wasn’t one of his virtues.  My then fiancé consistently showed up to the tune of my tapping feet.

“You may as well get used to it,” said Mom. “He will not change after you are married.”

My mother is right about more things than not, but Gary proved her wrong on that one. Today, my husband is the one who waits—for me.

I’m not picky about food, but there was a time in my life when I would have bet real money that I would never, as in ever, taste any one of the three Bs.  But I eat them now:  Brussel sprouts, broccoli, and bleu cheese. I like them.

I should have said three Bs and an R, for red wine.  Had you asked them a couple of years ago, my friends would have said, “She’s all about white wine.”

One trip to South America and now I’m all about red.

Wannabe scientists and philosophers would say my tastes have changed with age.


But why do I continue to gag at the thought of prunes—just like I did in the dining hall at Girl Scout camp?

If you had told my 15-year old self, “One of these days, you are going to love country music,” I’d have laughed out loud.

Listen to the whiny twang of Hank Williams, George Jones, Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn?  Me?

No way.


One stint as a morning announcer at a country radio station turned my disrespect for country artists to admiration.

I didn’t trade-in the Rolling Stones, Billy Joel, Elton John and Heart for Alabama, Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash and George Strait.  I just mixed them all up together and came out with a potpourri of incredible music.

I suppose there exists a connection between age and change, but give me a little credit for having an open mind.  I could refuse to try new foods.  I could hold tight to my preconceived notions about music.

Intrinsic change is more challenging—for me, anyway.  The problem is recognizing my weaknesses and admitting the need for modifications.

At some point in his life, Gary made punctuality a priority.  Patience—or lack thereof—was an issue for me, still is sometimes.  Motherhood helped.  For parents, patience is key to survival.

Then, there’s tact and compassion and prioritizing my time and, well, I’m a work in progress.

We cannot change others, but we can choose to improve ourselves (or not). By the way, “Cracklin Rosie” is a great song.


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