Over supper tonight I mentioned casually to Miss D. that I'd been looking for years for a copy of Penny Croft's song 'Count The Red Cars'. Her first (self-titled) album was released in 1977, and that song from it became something of a hit in South Africa.
It was once a very important song to me, because it was a favorite of my friend Flynn. I wrote about him a couple of years ago, and of his tragic death in combat. I remember how he used to play a worn cassette tape of that song, over and over, singing along to it in our shared tent in a military border camp. It grew on me, too, and it got to the point where he and I would harmonize (probably very badly) as we softly sang the lyrics together.
After Flynn's death I couldn't bear to hear it any more, because it always brought back memories of my buddy; so I stopped listening to it. However, in recent years, as I was able to write about Flynn for the first time, and allowed myself to begin to relive some of the memories I'd buried very deep down inside, I began to want to hear the song again. Unfortunately, I don't think it gained much traction outside South Africa, and I couldn't find any trace of it online; so I gave up.
Imagine my astonishment when, after we got home, Miss D. went online and within moments found two recordings of the song on YouTube! She played one of them for me. To my surprise and, yes, embarrassment, I couldn't help breaking down in tears as I remembered Flynn. The memories, and the pain of his loss, came flooding back . . . and she, dear heart that she is, simply took me in her arms and let me cry as I remembered my long-dead friend. She didn't say anything; she was just there, with me and for me. It was a wonderful gift . . . the music, and the love she gave, and the release both brought to me. (Yet another reason why I love my wife.)
So, in memory of my friend Flynn, and in gratitude to my wife, here's Penny Croft, from 1977, singing 'Count The Red Cars'.
Sleep well, Flynn.