12:50:15 am on
Monday 21 Jan 2019

No Regrets
AJ Robinson

Recently, I was watching the film, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (2018), which is the sequel to Mamma Mia! (2008). I thoroughly enjoyed the music and wanted something nice to entertain us Christmas Day. I’ll be honest; I wasn’t impressed.

► The sequel didn’t measure up.

I found the sequel much weaker than the original. Isn’t this the case, too often? Yet, one song brought me close to tears. It was “Fernando,” sung by Cher. At first, I couldn’t understand why I was becoming so emotional, but, as I listened to the words, more closely, it all became clear: the lyric made me think of my Mother and Father.

“I remember long ago, another starry night like this,” is another line of the lyric that touched home. Yes, there was a starry night long ago when my parents finally proclaimed their love for each other; dad asked mom to marry him. Dad did like to sing, although he wasn’t “In the firelight” or “Humming to [himself] and softly strumming [his] guitar”; nor were the “sounds of bugle calls were coming from afar” the sounds of war were not far off.

For my parents, “Every hour every minute seemed to last eternally.” They “were young and full of life and none of us prepared to die.” She was “not ashamed to say the roar of guns and cannons almost made me cry.” That was the case. World War II was raging; the sounds of war had been nearby for her and her parents for years, and thus she did know fear.

“There was something in the air that night; the stars were bright” and seemed to be “shining there for you and me, for liberty.” My parents truly felt as if they “never thought that we could lose.” My parents were on the start of the journey of their lives together. The war had ended, they were to marry and the future seemed nothing but bright and full of life. They saw was the potential for a good and happy life with friends, family and their children together.

► War is over.

Then it got to the part about her being “old and grey” and “many years I haven't seen a rifle in your hands.” Once again, this is so true. After the war, my father truly put aside the “sword” and took up the “ploughshare.” He hated war and violence; he turned to peace and family. My father never encouraged us, me or my brothers, to enter the military. As for my mother, she certainly aged and went grey quite a few years ago.

Although my parents hadn’t “crossed the Rio Grande,” in any literal sense, they did cross the Atlantic to get to America. Most definitely, my mother saw “in your eyes how proud you were to fight for freedom in this land.” Yes, my Dad was part of the Greatest Generation, the men and women that fought to free Europe from the oppression of Hitler and Mussolini.

Then the song came to that repeated lines, “There's no regret. If I had to do the same again, I would, my friend.” That line that made choked me up. You see, although my Mother divorced my Dad many years ago, she still loved qua loves him. Despite everything, despite all his faults: the drinking, the philandering, the miserly attitude, she loves him. For her, there are no regrets for anything, not for any aspect of her life. If she had her life to live over again, she would do the same.

► Love can overcome.

Love that strong can overcome so much, I think. Such love is powerful enough to reduce even the strongest man to tears. I am no such man, but these are my parents, thus you must allow me a tear or three. Overall, watching Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again was a good way to spend Christmas.

Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Most of the time he writes, but sometimes he works at Disney World to renew his fantasies and get a few dollars more. AJ writes, with insight and passion, about his family and his dog. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true.

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