Monday, February 17, 2014

Gold Days, Gold Friends

So far, 2014 has been a great year for reunions with old friends. I have been lucky enough to spend

Martin Luther King Day
with my friend Etta in Chicago,
at Woodfield Mall (Schaumburg):
back in 1970

the day before Valentine's
with my friend Sheri in Chicago,
at her family's restaurant, Topo Gigio:
back in 1982

and Presidents Day
with my friend Cyndee in Salt Lake City,
on Temple Square & at the University of Utah:
back in 1969

These three reunions reminded me of three enduring songs about the good old days.

First, from Gordon Lightfoot:

"Did She Mention My Name"
It's so nice to meet an old friend and pass the time of day
And talk about the home town a million miles away

Is the ice still on the river, are the old folks still the same
And by the way, did she mention my name
Did she mention my name just in passing
And when the morning came,
do you remember if she dropped a name or two
Is the home team still on fire, do they still win all the games
And by the way, did she mention my name

Is the landlord still a loser, do his signs hang in the hall
Are the young girls still as pretty in the city in the fall
Does the laughter on their faces still put the sun to shame
And by the way, did she mention my name

Did she mention my name just in passing
And when the talk ran high,
did the look in her eye seem far away
Is the old roof still leaking when the late snow turns to rain
And by the way, did she mention my name

Did she mention my name just in passing
And looking at the rain,
do you remember if she dropped a name or two
Won't you say hello from someone, they'll be no need to explain
And by the way, did she mention my name


Second, from Chicago:

"Old Days"
Old days
Good times I remember
Fun days
Filled with simple pleasures
Drive-in movies
Comic books and blue jeans
Howdy Doody
Baseball cards and birthdays
Take me back
To a world gone away
Memories
Seem like yesterday

Old days
Good times I remember
Gold days
Days I'll always treasure

Funny faces
Full of love and laughter
Funny places
Summer nights and streetcars
Take me back
To a world gone away
Boyhood memories
Seem like yesterday

Old days - in my mind and in my heart to stay
Old days - darkened dreams of good times gone away
Old days - days of love and feeling fancy free
Old days - days of magic still so close to me
Old days - in my mind and in my heart to stay
Old days - darkened dreams of good times gone away
Old days - days of love and feeling fancy free
Old days - days of magic still so close to me


Third, the couplet that I always think of whenever I hear Chicago sing "Old days . . . Gold days":

Make new friends,but keep the old.
One is silver, the other is gold.

I was never involved in scouting, so I never knew this as a Girl Scout Song, but only as a rhyme that my children sang at the conclusion of their University City Arts League music class:

Make new friends,
but keep the old.
One is silver,
the other is gold.

A circle is round,
it has no end.
That's how long,
I will be your friend.

A fire burns bright,
it warms the heart.
We've been friends,
from the very start.

You have one hand,
I have the other.
Put them together,
We have each other.

Silver is precious,
Gold is too.
I am precious,
and so are you.

You help me,
and I'll help you
and together
we will see it through.

The sky is blue
The Earth is green
I can help
to keep it clean

Across the land
Across the sea
Friends forever
We will always be.


The lyrics appear consistently marked as Anonymous. However, I did come across a rather interesting friendship blog that attributes this somewhat different version to Welsh composer and musician Joseph Parry (1841-1903).

Make new friends, but keep the old;
Those are silver, these are gold.

New-made friendships, like new wine,
Age will mellow and refine.

Friendships that have stood the test --
Time and change -- are surely best;

Brow may wrinkle, hair grow gray,
Friendship never knows decay.

For 'mid old friends, tried and true,
Once more we our youth renew.

But old friends, alas! may die,
New friends must their place supply.

Cherish friendship in your breast--
New is good, but old is best;

Make new friends, but keep the old;
Those are silver, these are gold.


Our fun music teacher Heather
who taught the boys to sing,
"Make New Friends"
Philadelphia ~ 1998

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