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franklin county times

Love is like a country song

By By Craig Ziemba / guest columnist
September 5, 2004
Did you hear the one about the guy who played country music backwards? He got his job back, his wife back, his dog back … Whether you like it or not, though, the really funny thing about country music is that it's mostly true.
The twang of the American soul can be surprisingly complex. One minute a country radio station croons, "When I said I do' I meant that I would, till the end of all time," or "I'm gonna love you forever and ever amen." And then the very next song blurts out, "It's too hot to fish, too hot for golf, and too cold at home."
Which is it? Is love a blessing or a life-ruining curse ("Don't you come around here handing me none of your lies. Here's a quarter, call someone who cares.") I thought about that the other night while chatting with some ladies in the Atlanta airport waiting for the last flight home to Mississippi.
One middle-aged woman was beaming and clearly excited to be going home to her husband and high-school sweetheart after two weeks on the road. Next to her sat a jaded divorce headed to pick up the kids at her former in-laws.
And lastly, a young lady who had a drink or three at the bar spilled her soul to anyone who would listen. She was flying to see a guy she'd only met once and hoped out loud that he would finally be Mr. Right.
There was a country song running through my mind for each one: " I have been blessed," "I'm going through the big D and don't mean Dallas," and "Looking for love in all the wrong places."
Love is a powerful emotion and, depending on which way it turns, it can make a saint cuss or it can make a bull rider wax poetic. Nothing on earth will ever bring you as much happiness as love, and no one in the world can hurt you worse than the one who holds your heart. There's not much middle ground, either. Marriage usually either ruins your life or makes it wonderful.
I once met a teenage waitress at a Cracker Barrel restaurant beside the interstate (this is a true story, not a country ballad). For the past 13 years we've been living on love and buying on time. On the outskirts of town we're building a dream and working on a full house.
But it doesn't always happen that way, because here in the real world, some hearts get broken and real tears fall. When it comes to love, some folks had it and lost it, some never found it, and still others have it and don't even realize it.
How you treat, and are treated by, the one you love will determine whether love is your greatest blessing or your worst curse, and there's no way to know for sure if the story has a happy ending without trying. Unfortunately, life's a dance you learn as you go but, sink or swim, you've still got to give it a whirl.
Happiness is a priceless treasure, and too much of a good thing really is a good thing. Think of that next time an old flame's burning in your eyes and you're tempted to slip the ring off your finger. Why not show your children that a promise isn't something that you say and forget, and give them a family that really bows their heads to pray where daddies never ever go away.
Love never fails, but lovers sometimes do. That's why every now and then you need to pick some redneck roses, put on some Alabama, and take your sweetie on a hometown honeymoon. 'Cause if you don't, it'll be you crying on the shoulder of the road.
Craig Ziemba is a military pilot who lives in Meridian. His book, "Boondoggle," is available at Meridian Bible Bookstores.

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