Have you ever been estranged from a close friend? Of course you have. It’s not a good feeling is it? Think Sonny without Cher or Huntley without Brinkley. Sonny and Cher were quite infamously estranged, of course. If Huntley and Brinkley ever were I knew nothing about it — their names are just permanently intertwined in my mind.
Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis were estranged, though. I don’t know who was mad at whom — or why — but I bet it had something to do with money or a woman — or both. But I remember one Labor Day, late in Dean Martin’s life, that he showed up and surprised Jerry Lewis onstage at a Muscular Dystrophy telethon. I don’t know if they ever saw one another again, but on that one occasion they cried and hugged and kissed and at least pretended to make up.
I had an occasion almost exactly like that last weekend. Or at least as close as one can come to such a situation when dealing with an inanimate object. You see, I lost my iPod during spring break. I know. I know. I should be ashamed, comparing such an insignificant thing as an iPod with a living, breathing human being. Nonetheless, I lost my iPod and I missed her. Yes, she’s a “she.” And, truth be known, I have spent a lot more time with her over the past few years than I have most of my friends — male or female.
I walk a lot. I mean a whole lot. I mean, I walk 4 or 5 miles a day. When I walk, my iPod keeps me company. My iPod makes the miles melt away. She is the wind beneath my wings, so to speak. (my apologies to the magnificent Ms. Midler) My iPod can make me happy and can make me sad and can make me laugh. You put Ron White on your iPod and you’ll laugh, too. She can help me change moods. She can make me feel frisky or reverent or nostalgic.
She’s smart, too. She has a shuffle feature that chooses songs at random. But if I choose the “genius” feature, she can figure out what kind of music I want to listen to, even when I don’t know myself. She can stream artists and genres of music and — well, you all know what an iPod can do and that’s not my point. I promise — I’m not an Apple shill.
The point is that when I got home from my spring break camping trip in April, my iPod was nowhere to be found. Alas, I thought she was gone forever. I moped. I pouted. I tore our luggage and camper and all our belongings apart. I disrupted 28 years of wedded bliss by accusing my lovely wife, Lisa, of misplacing my prized possession. I was convinced I would never see — or hear — her again.
I continued to walk every day, but it wasn’t the same. There just wasn’t as much spring in my step. Every mile seemed like two. My daily exercise was now drudgery instead of delightful alone time. I thought about simply going to the store and buying a new one, but it was just too soon. I couldn’t bring myself to be unfaithful — and besides, all of my children are out of the house and I haven’t a clue as to how to download the hundreds of songs stored in my computer for safekeeping — like in case I lost my iPod.
But we went away last weekend, and as I prepared for bed Friday night, right there on the bedside table — as if by magic — was my old friend. She was sitting there, smiling at me, as if nothing had happened. Lisa had, indeed, stuck my iPod in her overnight bag while we were camping and found it when unpacking that same bag in the mountains last weekend. She’s a better person than I. There are some things I just couldn’t admit to, and that would have been one of them.
We had a wonderful weekend together, my iPod and me. We danced with Patty Paige to the Tennessee Waltz. We partied with Buffett and went honky-tonking with Hank Williams and rocked the jukebox with Alan Jackson. We strolled along the forest trails and reunited with Garth and Willie and Toby Keith. We secretly enjoyed the Dixie Chicks, just for old time’s sake (but I’ll deny it).
Yes, my iPod and I had a wonderful weekend together, as only two old friends, too long separated, can. And when I got home Monday night I decided to take her for a long walk around the farm. Alas, my iPod was nowhere to be found.
But never fear. We are going to the beach soon. I am certain she’ll turn up on a nightstand somewhere. In the meantime, I’m so lonesome I could cry.
Darrell Huckaby is an author and teacher in Rockdale County. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/darrellhuckaby.