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I never thought I had a song that could make me cry.

Today I am driving our car back to the garage. A song comes on the radio- WFUV. I am part the way through the song as I have been switching stations. I don’t know the lyrics, nor the music- until the chorus. I don’t usually sing, but automatically I start to sing the chorus. I realize I have not heard this song in decades. It is a folk song- The Dutchman.

I drive slowly and leave the radio on in the garage. After the song ends I leave the garage and I start to sing the chorus to myself. This is the song I want to hear just before I die.

The Dutchman is a fairly popular folk song. When I ask my wife if she knows it, she says no. She probably would know if she heard it. She likes folk music and Irish folk artists have sung it. She asks me to tell her the lyrics- she knows better than to hear me sing.

I start to tell her the lyrics of the chorus. I cannot get through it before I break down.

I don’t know why. I am in good health with many years to live. I don’t remember when I first heard The Dutchman. I cannot associate the song or my emotion with anything that happened in my life.

I was recently a caregiver for my mother who passed away because of senility. It was hard. She knew she was decling and could not express what she wanted. I could see her frustration. She was strong and funny- but synapses were preventing this.

I suspect some might feel this song is a form of release, but  the emotion was independent of my Mom. It was long seated deep emotion embedded in my subconscious. I remember being emotional about this song when I first heard it.

I love the movie Up and I associate this song more with love expressed in that movie. The song is sad, and maybe that is all.  I don’t know. Do you have a song that affects you the same way?

The lyrics to The Dutchman are as follows:

“The Dutchman’s not the kind of man
Who keeps his thumb jammed in the dam
That holds his dreams in,
But that’s a secret that only Margaret knows.

When Amsterdam is golden in the summer,
Margaret brings him breakfast,
She believes him.
He thinks the tulips bloom beneath the snow.

He’s mad as he can be, but Margaret only sees that sometimes,
Sometimes she sees her unborn children in his eyes.

Let us go to the banks of the ocean
Where the walls rise above the Zuider Zee.
Long ago, I used to be a young man
And dear Margaret remembers that for me.

The Dutchman still wears wooden shoes,
His cap and coat are patched with the love
That Margaret sewed there.
Sometimes he thinks he’s still in Rotterdam.

And he watches the tug-boats down canals
An’ calls out to them when he thinks he knows the Captain.
Till Margaret comes
To take him home again

Through unforgiving streets that trip him, though she holds his arm,
Sometimes he thinks he’s alone and he calls her name.

Let us go to the banks of the ocean
Where the walls rise above the Zuider Zee.
Long ago, I used to be a young man
And dear Margaret remembers that for me.

The winters whirl the windmills ’round
She winds his muffler tighter
And they sit in the kitchen.
Some tea with whiskey keeps away the dew.

And he sees her for a moment, calls her name,
She makes the bed up singing some old love song,
A song Margaret learned
When it was very new.

He hums a line or two, they sing together in the dark.
The Dutchman falls asleep and Margaret blows the candle out.

Let us go to the banks of the ocean
Where the walls rise above the Zuider Zee.
Long ago, I used to be a young man
And dear Margaret remembers that for me. “

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