I know what it is to live entirely for and with what I love best on earth.-Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Mona's Musings

August 10th, 2010

The “Fantasticks”

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[audio:http://www.monasmusings.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/The-Fantasticks-Mix.mp3|titles=The Fantasticks Podcast]

“Love is what you’ve been through with somebody.” James Thurber


Try to remember the kind of September…When life was slow and oh, so mellow. Try to remember the kind of September…when grass was green and grain was yellow. Try to remember the kind of September…When you were a tender and callow fellow. Try to remember, and if you remember…Then follow.


Last night, I listened from the back seat to my new friend in the front seat as we maneuvered London traffic. She told me that her first marriage at 19 had been abusive: she was afraid of him. It took thirteen years and seven children before she had the wherewithal to divorce. Never again, she thought, never again. And then she met Bernie. He came with other men from church to clean and work her garden. He came back to help again. And again. And again. Treats for the children gradually won their hearts and hers.

She’s been married to him for 27 years now — only dementia has replaced her companion with a stranger; a stranger that she watches over day after day. “He took care of me all those years,” she remembers. “Now I take care of him.”

Every marriage has a history; a story that is complex and intricate and unique. When you meld nature and spirituality and emotion and physicality, how can you end up with anything that is not completely mysterious? That’s why I love studying and reading and writing about marriage. It never ceases to fascinate and astound me. My own marriage amazes me every single day.

We met and married young, very young, and continued to behave very young for years afterward. Every silly, irresponsible thing you could think of – we probably did: from under planning to over spending. Our parents were constantly shaking their heads at us or shaking in their boots for us. We were oblivious to the wisdom of the ages and blazed our own trail in the spring of wedded bliss.

Summer came along with babies and mortgages in its wake and we got a little smarter – but not much.  We hung in there though and worked at being crazy about each other, instead of just crazy. By fall, we were experiencing the tugs and pulls of life, figuring out how to parent teens and making lots of mistakes. Then came winter – when dreams were on the ground instead of in the trees and we cried a lot. But the snow was still pretty if you looked at it a certain way, and we cuddled under the blanket of our loyalty to one another, which was never in question.

Green eventually popped into our lives as tough times began to melt, and the colors that followed the green seemed more vibrant than ever. Now, at the apex of another summer, a late summer perhaps – we are experiencing such abundance that we can sit at outdoor cafes and sip memories without tasting the pain.

I began musing about the learning curve called marriage when we saw a little musical at London’s Duchess Theatre recently, one we have been fond of ever since I played the Ingenue and he was the Lead years ago. You may not know the show — called “The Fantasticks” — but life “follows” its theme song…


Deep in December, it’s nice to remember…Although you know the snow will follow. Deep in December, it’s nice to remember…Without a hurt the heart is hollow. Deep in December, it’s nice to remember…The fire of September that made us mellow. Deep in December, our hearts should remember…And follow.

(“Try to Remember” from The Fastasticks: Music by Harvey Schmidt, Lyrics by Tom Jones. Vocals by Jerry Orbach from the original soundtrack. Instrumental version by Pianos of Cha’n on the album “Inspirations”)

Hint of Romance

Seasons of life come and go. If you keep caring for and protecting each another — everything else will work out.

What did you think of this musing?

Join the discussion!


  1. Sarah says:

    So Touching! I loved this. I feel grateful every time you write. It drips with romance. Thank you!

  2. Heidi says:

    What an absolutely beautiful post. In so many ways.

  3. Sharon says:

    This is a marvelous blend of beauty and love! One of your best posts, as if I could choose one! So lovely and loving. Thank you!

  4. lily says:

    I just loved it!!!!
    thank u sis!!!

    • mona says:

      Oh sweetheart! I’m so glad. I love the way you described the way you and your husband are two halves of a whole. I knew then that you would like Musings.

  5. Colleen Tolva says:

    Dearest Mona,
    Very well done, indeed. Your gentle voice and the music throughout this post were so tender and desirable.
    Having gone through many experiences of marriage myself, I can relate to the story of your friend having been in an abusive marriage. Mine took place during a seven year period with my second husband. My third husband, also of seven years, left me and the church.
    Those were difficult times; but never without hope for the right marriage to come along.
    Never give up and never be afraid to try again!
    Danial and I have been married for almost 21 years now and I know that Heavenly Father gave him to me as a gift! I needed to experience the other marriages to have this one.
    Let me tell you a little about Danial. When my mother became old and diagnosed with Alzheimers we knew we would need to care for her and we did for eight and a half years. Danial’s compassion and understanding nature for the elderly proved to be a great benefit to all of us during those tender times. He would make her laugh and always bought her treats to eat. He comforted her in the middle of the night. He was with her the night she died at ninety seven years old.
    What woman would not treasure forever those good memories of her husband caring for her mother.
    Danial’s compassion for a 94 year old woman who was dying of cancer was shown during our courtship when he picked up this tiny, diseased body and placed it in the wheel chair and took her outside to be in the fresh air and sunshine.
    Romance and kisses aren’t always there; but a caring and generous heart of mercy are.
    This spiritual depth of compassion in my husband is what I love about him.

  6. Lilia H says:

    Thanks, for sharing. I enjoy reading, and now hearing your sweet messages. They do bring a positive, loving and spiritual motivation to make our marriage a most cherished experience.

    You look wonderful! Keep posting pictures to learn about your surroundings. Just let us know where the location so we can keep up with you trhough your travels.

    So glad you are feeling at home already! Love and hugs for you and Dale.

  7. Pam says:

    How beautifully you write. I feel uplifted by your musings. My mom and dad too care of each other and I am lucky to have married a man who cherishes and cares for me when I am down. I love your quote by James Thurber; it made me think of a celebrity who was quoted as saying she thought the idea of a relationship longer than 5 years to be laughable. She is famous, gorgeous and wealthy, and yet she is the poorest of the poor. She will surely miss out on one of the most enriching experiences this life can offer; the blessing of growing together with someone she may not always like, but whom she could love for ever.

  8. Bri Z. says:

    That does sound like something that Dale Zabriskie would say. :)

    I love it. “Love is what you’ve been through with somebody.” It’s like how when you get to know someone or see them more often, they look more beautiful to you than they did at first. Or how people find themselves falling for their best friend because they spend so much time talking with them. Or even how when everything goes wrong on a family vacation, you have more fun than you would’ve otherwise, because you shared the crazy experience.

    How can you possibly explain to anyone the emotions and relationships tied up in those experiences unique to your marriage? “When you meld nature and spirituality and emotion and physicality, how can you end up with anything that is not completely mysterious?” It’s mystical and therein lies the romance of it all. Love is the closest thing to magic we have. It’s the most powerful magic of all.

    We’re still in the spring of our married lives, but I treasure the challenging times we have had which have stretched our capacity to love and care for one another when in distress. We hold all the dewy anticipation we possibly can for our bright future summer. We will try to keep the boot-trembling to a minimum, but I make no promises. :)

    • mona says:

      Oh Bri! I’m laughing and crying! “boot-trembling”! hahahaha. And NO promises????? I’m thinking I need to start quoting my commentors on Facebook instead of the experts! May I use “Love is the closest thing to magic we have. It’s the most powerful magic of all.” ??????

    • Bri Z. says:

      I suppose I should credit J.K. Rowling’s character Dumbledore, I believe, with the notion of love as magic. I believe it is him that says love is the most powerful magic of all.

    • Heidi says:

      Bri–I love your musings just as much as Mona’s! You both are such beautiful writers and you bring me sweet and tender hope in my times when I feel hopeless.

  9. renee says:

    Beautiful. Have I mentioned (more than once, I think…) THERE IS A BOOK HERE!!!! (I see a bestseller!)

    • mona says:

      Renee’ — the nice thing about Musings is they are short and sweet! AUGH! A book! How do authors find the time? Keep encouraging me. I SO appreciate and need it.

  10. Bob says:

    I loved The Fantastics! For years I’ve burst out singing, “why would the kids do something like that, when all that we said was no?” when the lyrics seemed to fit a particular parenting situation. :-)

    • mona says:

      Bob! Me too! For years: “why did the kids pour jam on the cat? Raspberry jam all over the cat! Why would kids do something like that? When all that we said was NO!”

  11. Diana Coatney says:

    I love your musings. This one is beautiful as always. I loved the podcast. I had to listen to it even after I had read the posting just so I could hear your voice. We miss you guys! As I read your posting I contemplated the marriages I know about. I have been truly blessed with a husband who loves and supports me in all I do. He is always there to help if needed and to be my support in all my projects and goals.
    I also started thinking on my parent’s marriage and how my father is in winter now as he has recently lost his sweetheart of over sixty years but, yet he knows that spring will come again when they are reunited for eternity. What a blessing that is to him and to us all as we go through this thing called life.

  12. I love the idea of life being a series of ‘seasons’
    I think we have had a few too many winters but I surely feel that now we are truly seeing the fruits of our labors, our sorrows, and our disappointments.
    Spring is beginning to peer through it all bringing with it newness of life and a blanket of warm air is starting to wrap us up!
    I am beginning to feel like we can take on the world!

  13. Lindsey says:

    I just absolutely love your writings. Thank you.

  14. maritza ardila says:

    Hola!, el amor vence todo!. Yes! Mona, I totally agree of your notes about couples.
    What I true believe is that in a relation couple it is necessary to listen each another and understanding in each situation, by listen to the spirit which, I think is very important as member of the true church we have this gift of the holly ghost , sometimes couples needs to listen , what God is requiere for them , and probably all the time!, so, by doing this the love and care will arrive to each couple. I have been on my own , I have totally learned , that you cannot give up ,as we always have some who always want to care, it will new challenge for new future couples ,but the lord is there for each couple. Mona your inspired notes in on your blog. are wonderful . In the beginnig about Bernie and his wife, it was a good example to a lot couples. The music is sooooo that you add is maravillosamente hermosa!!!! ,beautiful and your voice record is amazing , Dale must be proud of his beautiful wife with magnifico talent, God be with you love Maritza and my son Christopher Aaron.

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