The Union Recorder

March 1, 2014

ROWLAND: Every man should be so lucky

Mike Rowland
The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — Well, it is that time of year.  I have once again embarked on the annual Mike Rowland physical fitness campaign.  

Truth be told, I do a pretty fair job throughout the year of trying to stay active.  Like most people, the winter months just get me down.  I go to the gym and do the stationary bike or the treadmill, and I lift a few weights just to keep everything from moving around, but there is just no substitute for the first few days of 70-degree weather.

I don't know if it is the fact that another year has passed me by, but getting into shape this year has been tougher than most.  By the time most of you read this column, I will be well into a 5K race in Dahlonega.

The 70 degree springtime tease will be replaced with temperatures in the low 30s.  I mildly dislike the gym.  I hate the cold.  

Just to be fair, it is hard to describe what I do as racing … in fact, running is probably an overstatement.  A light jog sounds more like it.  Apparently, I am doing this for a good cause although I cannot remember what it is.  My college niece is in a sorority, and apparently I agreed to do this as some kind of fundraiser for her little group.

I also contend that another year older has affected my judgment.  I should know better than to make such commitments at my age.

Of course I have one of those smartphones that has a trusty app downloaded to it that can measure the miles as I run them.  It will play music, too, which is really the point to this story.

I am probably one of the few people you know who listens to John Denver music while I jog.  I know, but I am one of those guys who believes that he was one of the great musicians of his time.  You look at some of the old YouTube videos now of his live performances … his mastery of the guitar, his vocal range, the words to his music. …

“Country Roads,” “Rocky Mountain High,” “Leaving on a Jet Plane,” “This Old Guitar,” “Annie's Song,” “Grandma's Feather Bed,” and my personal favorite, “The Eagle and the Hawk” - I get chills just thinking about it.

I taught the rest of my family to love John Denver, too.  My sons are 28 and almost 25 respectively, and they can do a John Denver sing-along with the best of them.  They learned at a young age to appreciate their father's music, and they have been fans ever since.

Now, I tell you that story to tell you this story.  Valentine's Day came and went this year, and one nice afternoon while I was out jogging, jamming along to a JD love song, I spent time thinking of all of the loving acts committed by the women in our family.

I remembered a bunch, but this one especially came to mind.

My oldest son is caught in a time warp between the great music and old-fashioned values of the Baby Boomers and the cultural phenomenon that marks his generation by whatever name we call them.  The kid listens to Frank Sinatra and lives in the world of a college campus.  He is the most squared away human being I know yet he his chomping at the bit to get out there and take a few chances.

Best of all, he loves John Denver music, too.

So, a few years back, his wife, knowing and understanding his love of all things John Denver and longing for the perfect gift for some special occasion, went online looking for tickets to a John Denver concert.  Of course she had no idea that he perished in an ultralight plane crash in 1997 at the age of 53.

Once we found out what she had done, we gave her a hard time in a family-loving sort of way.  Being the good sport she is, she took it well.

During the Cupid season, however, I was reminded of how special it is to have someone who loves you enough to search for John Denver tickets on the Internet.  A woman like that is hard to find.

Every man should be so lucky.