I met Susan Richtman several years before I became romantically interested in her, which, for the record, occurred when a column of this ilk would have been composed on an electric typewriter, rather than on the keyboard of a laptop computer.
(We’ll call the preceding paragraph the setting. The setting took place long ago.
Now, back to the plot …)
I had actually gone to elementary school with one of Susan’s sisters, and, because Susie had dated my best friend’s brother, our paths would cross from time to time – more by accident than by fate.
Then Burton Cummings changed everything.
Most people who know me well will tell you I can be obsessive regarding certain topics – and, certainly, about the lead vocalist for the popular Canadian rock group The Guess Who.
He is my all-time favorite singer.
By a wide margin.
I hope, for your sake, his hits list rings a bell. “These Eyes,” “American Woman,” “Share the Land,” and “Stand Tall” topped the charts, back in the ‘60s and ‘70s.
And “Dream of a Child” helped me win the love of my life.
That song was the title track on an album Cummings released in 1978. It is a beautiful, playful ballad that was a big hit in his native Canada, but for some reason it never struck gold in the U.S.
In fact, I heard it play only one time on the radio.
When it did, when the first note from Burton’s grand piano rang through the dashboard speaker, I knew I was party to a transcendent moment. I knew I was being called – by God or, maybe, just by Burton. And I knew I JUST HAD TO finish the business that was started the first time I’d engaged in a meaningful conversation with the striking, bright, tenderly shy brunette sitting just a few feet away in my car.
Though the clock had struck midnight not long before, it was chiming again – only, now, just to me and just for me.
I looked into Susan’s eyes. I moved my head oh-so-slowly toward hers.
I closed my lips.
And my eyes.
Never before or after has there been a better kiss.