Met my old lover in the grocery store
The snow was falling Christmas eve

… …

And as I turned to make my way back home
The snow turned into rain

I first heard the song years ago in China and liked it a lot for its folksy tune and reference to Auld Lang Syne. My English was too poor to figure out all the lyrics, and I wouldn’t have any idea what a corner grocery store looks like anyway. I did recognize the last sentence (like that is hard), and used it as song title in my catalog.

Over here you can’t avoid it if you listen to any radio during any December. It’s a bit weird to hear it between Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Feliz Navidad since it’s so melancholy, but I guess people don’t really pay attention to the lyrics once they hear “snow”, “Christmas eve”, and of course, Auld Lang Syne.

I never knew who’s the singer, though, and finally remembered to look it up. Sadly, Fogelberg passed away shortly before last Christmas, may he rest in peace. He grew up in Peoria, Illinois, less than 100 miles from Champaign (J took her CPA exams there), and he dropped out from UIUC’s college of arts to pursue his music career.

The Peoria Journal Star ran a nice obituary piece after his death, and a few days later the same columnist wrote a wonderful story as the true identity of the “old lover” was revealed.

And how about this heart warming/wrenching countrapoint:

She says she had kept publicly mum because Fogelberg was such a private person.

“It wasn’t about me. It was about Dan. It was Dan’s song,” Jill says.

Further, though she and Fogelberg only rarely had communicated over the past quarter-century, she feared that her talking about the song somehow might cause trouble in his marriage.

The heart of the song hangs on its most chilling line: “She would have liked to say she loved the man, but she didn’t like to lie.”

Still, even decades later, she declines to discuss that line of the tune.

“I think that’s probably too personal,” she says.

But the song had no impact on her marriage. By the time of its release, she had divorced.

“Somebody said he waited until I was divorced to release the song, but I don’t know if that’s true,” Jill says.