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I Guess That’s Why They Call it the Blues: Valentine’s Day Away from Those that We Love

Judy’s Hearts

I have lost count of the number of Valentine’s days as well as other special occasions that I have been away from my love over the course of my military career. This is not uncommon for any of us that serve away from our loved ones, I know plenty of folks alone or with other friends this Valentine’s Day when their loved ones are away.

Before the military…1981

This year I am again away but at least the gift I ordered for Judy got there on time. She made the best of the night spending the past few weeks making some dark chocolate candy filled hearts for a lot of people. She made I think she said about 85 including a dozen or so that she had me give to people down here. She gave them away today and it is amazing . It is amazing how many people don’t feel loved on a day set aside for love.  I was reading my current favorite comic strip Over the Hedge by Michael Fry and as usual Vern the Turtle was being tormented by RJ the Raccoon when he found out that he is loved just a little bit.

See all of Michael’s Over the Hedge adventures here http://www.gocomics.com/overthehedge/ or his blog at http://overthehedgeblog.wordpress.com/

It reminded me that there are a lot of people that Valentine’s day only makes feel more isolated and uncared for and I love the way that Judy can make someone’s day by making something nice for them.

Back when we were married in June 1983 and I was reporting to active duty as a young Army officer elton John released the song I Guess that’s Why they call it the Blues. The music video had the setting of a young man going off to join the British Royal Army and missing his girl.  I was at Fort Knox Kentucky at a school on my way to Germany when I saw the video for the first time.  It struck a chord then and still does over 28 years later.

So for all those that are away from the one they love tonight I present Elton John singing I Guess that’s why They call it the Blues. 


Don’t wish it away

Don’t look at it like it’s forever

Between you and me I could honestly say

That things can only get better

And while I’m away 

Dust out the demons inside

And it won’t be long before you and me run

To the place in our hearts where we hide

And I guess that’s why they call it the blues

Time on my hands could be time spent with you

Laughing like children, living like lovers

Rolling like thunder under the covers

And I guess that’s why they call it the blues

Just stare into space

Picture my face in your hands

Live for each second without hesitation

And never forget I’m your man

Wait on me girl

Cry in the night if it helps

But more than ever I simply love you

More than I love life itself


Padre Steve+

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I Guess that’s Why they call it the Blues: Padre Steve’s Critique of Valentine’s Day

The Original Elton John Music Video of “I Guess that’s Why they Call it the Blues”


Valentine’s Day can be a difficult holiday for those that are alone. After all, Valentine’s Day is marketed as a day to celebrate romance, love and togetherness. However there are a lot of people alone, in my case it is my chosen vocation of the military that has necessitated numerous absences from my longsuffering wife over the past 29 plus years. I have lost track of just how many Valentine’s Day times with Judy that I have missed over the years and I know plenty of other military men and women that can all testify to this and say “Amen.” In fact I remember seeing the video of Elton John’s hit I Guess that’s Why they Call it the Blues on my first “Post marriage” military separation from Judy immediately after we were married in 1983. The song has always had a fond place in my otherwise crusty heart and reminds me that even I have a little romantic sentiment.

However as much as the military is part of my life it is a very small percentage of the population of the United States. That being said there are a lot of other lonely people on Valentine’s Day. There are a lot of single people, divorced people and others who for a myriad of reasons are alone this Valentine’s Day and for some the loneliness is almost unbearable.  For them it is a painful day that reminds them of just how alone they are or that they feel they are.

Let’s face it. The way Valentine’s Day is marketed the single, the divorced or those who struggle in painful or even abusive relationships are really left out. It is almost as if they are second class citizens or even non-entities. It’s like there is almost a stigma about being single or alone on Valentine’s Day. The hard thing for many people in this situation is that they are often smart, attractive and successful but still alone. Then there are those that are socially awkward or incredibly shy for whom the fear of relationships keeps them from entering into romance. For all of these people the day is difficult and something that they would prefer to just get past. Some will find ways to hang out with others in their situation but when they go home it will be to an empty bed, unless they have a dog.

As I have thought about this beginning the day after Christmas when the first Valentine’s Day candy and cards went on the shelves. Ever since I have been bombarded by commercials on television, radio and the internet and e-mails from online flower distributers, candy makers and specialty marketers advertising what I need to do to make this a holiday special for the one that I love. Now I couldn’t be with my bride this year but I ignored all the hype and surprised her with something that she asked for which cost very little and it made her happy. It is very seldom that I get Valentine’s Day, birthdays or anniversaries right. I am about as romantic as the German Pocket Battleship Graf Spee or a Panzer IV Tank, so when I in spite of myself actually do something that makes Judy’s day a bit brighter I am pleased because I cannot count the number of such occasions that I have messed up.

We’re apart this year but I will get some leave in conjunction with the upcoming President’s Day holiday and I think that will be good just to spend time with her.  Tonight I will go have dinner and a beer or two with another Chaplain, a Catholic Priest who I served with in Iraq.  It is good for us to get together in our line of work, when you are like my friend celibate or like me a geographic celibate there are not a lot of other people that you can hang out with.  Most of our colleagues are married and with their wives if they are not deployed and since a good number don’t drink you can’t exactly show up on their doorstep with a six-pack of Sam Adams (Patriot Brewer and Friend) a bucket of Buffalo wings and some action flick or guy kind of comedy DVD, aka no Chick Flicks or Christian romance movies.

So I am looking forward to tonight with my friend as we share a meal together at a local watering hole and an extended weekend with my bride, the love of my life.

So to all, those together, those apart and those alone I wish you the best.


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