I also dedicate my song today to close friends and neighbours of Sheila and mine. Dave and Miriam Adamson celebrate their 8th wedding anniversary today. Dave and Miriam are the same ages as me and Sheila, and they got married four months before us. You are a lovely couple. Enjoy your anniversary and let us hope that you have many more before you to celebrate.
My song today is ‘Bye Bye Love’. This popular song was written by Felice and Boudleaux Bryant and was published in 1957. It is best known in a debut recording by the Everly Brothers. The song reached Number 2 on the US ‘Billboard Hot 100’ pop chart and Number 1 on the ‘Cash Box Best Selling Record’ chart. The Everly Brothers' version also enjoyed major success as a country song, reaching Number 1 in the spring of 1957. ‘Bye Bye Love’ is ranked 210th on Rolling Stone magazine's list of ‘The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time’.
Incidentally, it was the first song Paul McCartney performed live on stage, with his brother Mike at a holiday camp in Filey, North Yorkshire. It was part of Rory Storm and The Hurricanes’ repertoire and a live version recorded in 1960 was released in 2012 on the album Live at the Jive Hive March 1960. The Beatles covered the song during the ‘Let It Be’ sessions in 1969. George Harrison did a cover for his 1974 album ‘Dark Horse’, changing some of the words. ‘Bye Bye Love’ has also been covered by Simon & Garfunkel.
When this song was first released, I was a few months away from leaving school. A few months later, I had started working as a mill hand in a Cleckheaton textile firm. I had spent the time between 11-14 years of age unable to walk after having incurred a serious traffic accident which damaged my spine and left me with multiple life-threatening injuries. After my traffic accident, I was unable to walk for almost three years and required over four dozen operations on one of my most damaged legs. between the ages of 14-15, I spent a year learning to find my feet again. I had been left walking with a pronounced limp as my left leg was now three inches shorter than my right leg. For three years, between 14-17 years of age, I engaged in every sport and energetic activity which might improve my balance as well as transforming my ‘hobbling around’ to become more like a normal walking posture.
I even used the mental imagination exercises which I had previously used years earlier when my spine was damaged. I used mental imagery initially to regain the feeling of pain beneath my waistline where all sense of feeling disappeared for nine months after my accident due to my damaged spine. Having lost all my feeling below my waist, I knew that if I could feel pain in my legs once more, it would signify that feeling and life had returned to my lower limbs. That is why today I have a high pain threshold; not because of all the painful procedures and numerous operations I have experienced since my childhood, but because I do not perceive ‘pain’ to be a negative experience. 'Pain' is there when the body needs to indicate that something is wrong that requires correction. 'Pain' to me represents the presence of life’ and is a necessary feeling within the experience of ‘living’.
I also used mental imagery to help me minimise my walking limp. I discovered that when I walked, I limped badly after I had initially regained my mobility (not surprising when one considers that my left leg was now three inches shorter than my right leg). I practised imagining that when I walked, I did not walk with such a pronounced limp, and because of the power that the mind truly possesses over that of the body, in time I did not limp as badly as I otherwise would have done with a three-inch leg-length differential. Over the years, my body readjusted itself and my hips realigned themselves at a slanted angle. Somehow, my mental exercises had managed to significantly minimise my limp by automatically enabling me to roll my body forward in step as opposed to limping myself forward. In fact, it would be true to say that I had learned to 'roll with it'.
Whenever I used to hear the Everly brothers sing this song, I would think about the day when I might be able to wave ‘Bye, Bye’ to my walking limp. Then, one day I met a man in a pub in Hightown who had noticed over a number of times he had seen me in the pub how much I engaged in behaviour which attempted to disguise my limp. For instance, whenever I stood at the bar counter in the pub, I would automatically place my shortest leg on any available footrest that enabled me to stand at my tallest height. This posture would make my stance appear 'normal' from a distance and disguise the discrepancy in length between both of my legs. We spoke on several occasions at length and what he said made a lot of sense to me. I cannot recall his name, merely his advice.T
The man who taught me more about 'the art of limping' than anyone I ever knew. He told me that given all that had happened to me over the years, my legs had served me admirably. He also said, “and more importantly, the amount of pain that your legs have had to endure in the years following your accident suggests to me that they are some of the strongest of legs that any man could walk on”. He indicated that the fact they were no longer straight or even in length was of less importance than the fact that they had survived their ordeal and still walked the person who possessed them. “In future,” the man said, “when you walk on your legs, walk on them with pride that you walk at all!”
The man then told me something I would never forget; something which appealed to my romantic instincts at the time. He said, “Most women have a soft spot for any man who has limp, 'providing that he has learned to limp with pride!'”
That was the occasion when I was able to say ‘Bye Bye’ to another angry dragon I had harboured inside me for far too long. However, the one thing I will never say ‘Bye Bye’ to is ‘love’.
Love and peace Bill xxx