I love you the same way I love blue skies and cool breezes. Because while I remember with clarity the moment I first fell in love with you during that historic February, 1964 appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, I don't really recall what my life was like before you, and contemplating it without you is like trying to conceive of no more blue skies or cool breezes.
You have always been there, always soothing me with your voice. I remember listening to "And I Love Her" as my wobbly propeller plane made its way over the Gulf of Mexico because I somehow knew I wouldn't die while listening to you. When I suddenly became terrified as I dressed for my high school graduation ceremony because it not only meant the end of something I hated, it also meant the beginning of something unknown, I played "Get Back" over and over again. I have turned to "My Brave Face" when my heart was breaking and "No More Lonely Nights" when it was soaring.
I fell in love with you when I was 6 years old because you were so damn pretty with those bottomless brown eyes, impossibly long lashes and perfectly straight nose. And because your voice sounded exactly like it should, coming from that little rosebud mouth. I'm grateful that now, as you have passed your 68th birthday, I can see that I cast my lot with a man who has turned out to be worthy of such devotion. You and your first wife enjoyed a touching love story, sticking together through good times and bad and raising four kids who grew up to be productive adults (who all somehow managed to avoid brawls and rehab and the other pitfalls that plague celebrity children). You overcame career adversity -- finding yourself unemployed with the demise of the most famous band ever when you were just 28 -- and reinvented yourself. You could rest on your considerable laurels but you don't, still making new music and working harder than you need to with your live shows. You have lost both your parents, the Lovely Linda and many of your boyhood chums, and your second marriage was a humiliating debacle, but you have never gone under. I have come to realize that your real beauty is your talent, dignity and strength.
Thanks for sharing it with us.