#MusicMonday – January 18, 2021

Now and forever, you are a part of me. And the memory cuts like a knife.

The memory of a fulfilling, beautiful friendship is not the part that cuts like a knife. It’s the memory of not having that person not part of your life anymore (in the ever-present sense) that cuts like a knife.

Tomorrow is my best friend Amie’s 43rd birthday. Normally, I’d be texting her in the morning, or visiting her at work to give her a hug. Last year, I dropped off a present on her desk first thing in the morning the day after her birthday, since it fell on a Sunday. This year, there won’t be a gift to put on her desk, or going to her department at work to give her a hug. I’ll spend January 19th thinking about her, and the wonderful life she led, the purpose she had in this world. I’ll try not to remember what led up to her sudden passing, but it won’t be easy.

I still feel guilty that I didn’t see her for her birthday last year, thinking I had many more birthdays with her. I didn’t think a pandemic was going to keep us apart for the last five weeks of her life, or that she was going to get sick so suddenly (not of COVID), and pass away just as suddenly. She was vibrant, happy, and just the kind of person you’d want in your corner, and when that light went out, it was like the sun burnt out.

I paid tribute to Amie and her beautiful soul on Music Monday back on April 20, 2020, but I knew I needed to pay tribute to her for her birthday. And even though it isn’t until tomorrow, she is worthy of not only a day-of celebration, but also a day before celebration. She’s just that kind of person.

Today’s song comes from a movie about women breaking barriers in a time that women weren’t…breaking barriers. It is one of my favorite movies, and I know Amie loved it too, which makes it the perfect choice. The song describes sisterhood and an unbreakable bond, something Amie and I definitely had, and one I’ll still hold on to, even if she isn’t here.

“Now and Forever” is a song written and performed by Carole King, for the 1992 feature film A League of Their Own, the inspired-by-a-true story film about the All American Girls’ Professional Baseball League. The league had been formed in 1943, during World War 2, as Major League Baseball’s boys of summer had gone off to war. The story within the film is the relationship of two sisters, Dottie and Kit, and their time in the league, along with many other strong-willed, athletic women who were helping break down barriers and misconceptions of a woman’s role in the world. The film was directed by Penny Marshall, and was released on July 1, 1992, with the soundtrack coming out the day before.

Carole King was approached by Penny Marshall about writing and performing a song for the closing credits of A League of their Own, and King contributed “Now and Forever,” which was well-received by Marshall. However, there was a snag, and her name was Madonna. And when Madonna is in your movie, you know she’s gotta contribute something. And since it was in Madonna’s contract that she got the prestigious closing credits song, Carole King’s beautiful song about the bonds of sisterhood was not going to get the prestigious spot.

Penny Marshall was determined to use this song, and wound up having a new intro written and filmed, all so this beautiful song could be used.

And let me tell you, as much as I like Madonna’s music, I love this song more than “This Used to Be My Playground.” Just my super unpopular opinion.

“Now and Forever” reached #18 Billboard’s Adult Contemporary Charts, and was included on King’s 1993 album Colour of Your Dreams, as well as 2005’s The Living Room Tour. I can never hear this song without thinking of the first time I saw A League of Their Own, in the movie theater with my mom and brother the summer between third and fourth grades. I even own a Rockford Peaches costume. I had to buy red baseball socks for it, but it is a really great, very authentic looking costume!

Apparently, Amie had planned on doing this costume as well, but didn’t like how it fit. After wearing it and not being the skinniest person, I kind of understand that scene where everyone was griping about having to play baseball in a skirt. I only had to sit in it all day, but yeah, that skirt was quite short!

I’m going to close out today’s article with our song choice for this week, as I feel this article doesn’t need anything beyond that. Amie and her amazing soul lit up the world, and even with her not in the world, she still manages to light it up with incredible memories.

More often than not, the good ones outweigh that one final moment that took her from my life.

Happy heavenly birthday tomorrow, Amie. You are loved and missed, today and always. And especially on your birthday.

Have a great Monday, and enjoy the music!

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