I should get the purple heart for loving you. — David Allan Coe

When it comes to salvaging a broken heart, we of course turn to music, especially country music, and I’ve long thought Coe nailed it best in those nine words.

Of course, there’s a less bitter route. One could listen instead to the Ray Price standard “For the Good Times.” Those lyrics are noble; an attitude to aspire to when your lover is leaving you. But the lovers in that song spend one last night together. When you’re kicked to the curb over dinner, Coe’s “Purple Heart” strikes the right chord.

As well as Linda Ronstadt’s classic “Long, Long Time.” “I’ve done everything I know to try and make you mine” and I think I’m gonna love you a long, long time.”

I wish I had a quarter for every quarter I’ve dropped in a jukebox. Of course, all you have to do now is go online. Solace, like salt on a wound, is readily available. But you still have to wake up the next day and act like nothing has changed.

Speaking of jukeboxes, that’s how I got my first copy of “If I Could Only Fly” by Blaze Foley. Now there’s a heartbreaking song. Foley was shot to death (accounts still vary) before he could achieve radio playlists. But I had a bartender friend in Carrollton, and once when they were rotating out old 45s from the jukebox, he pocketed “If I Could Only Fly,” taped a copy and mailed it to me, saying, “You’ve got to hear this”. (Merle Haggard later did a nice cover of the song.)

A song with your beer is not always about heartbreak. I recall more fondly the night in an Athens bar when a local band was doing a good rendition of “Desperado” by The Eagles. My date crooked her arm over mine, leaned into my ear and softly sang along to the last lines:

“You’d better let somebody love you before it’s too … ooo…ooo…late

I started dating her exclusively after that. It lasted three good years, but neither of us was ready to settle down. We still touch base every now and then.

I dated a good-looking woman from West Rome a few years ago. I really liked her. I used Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” to get over her. The ending was awkward and unexpected, but I would still go out with her if she called me out of the blue.

Another depressing song to cheer you up over any low point is Kris Kristofferson’s “Sunday Morning Comin’ Down.”

Sometimes the words aren’t set to music. “Women are like street cars. Wait a few minutes, and another will come along.” That’s an old New Orleans saying.

A former colleague once teased that she was going to sell bumper stickers reading “Honk if you’ve (dated) Bryant”. The parenthetical word is a stand-in for what she really said, which can’t be reprinted in a family magazine.

A woman who was my best friend in college once said she was going to be at my funeral to make sure my tombstone read, “A woman did it.” But that was long ago. YOU are just now. You always liked to say you’d find another lover, and I’m sure you will. But you won’t find another poet.

But you don’t really care for romance, do you?

Yet, I part with more Kristofferson:

“Loving her was easier than anything I’ll ever do again.”


Money magazine, in its August issue, asks “is college worth it?” and lists its 50 top colleges based on quality of education, affordability, and graduates’ typical earnings. Georgia Tech ranked No. 16. (Topping the list was Princeton University). If you’re curious, the full rankings are at money. com/best colleges.

Close to home, a study by affordableschools. net found Georgia Northwestern Technical College ranked 20th in a list of most affordable community colleges offering online degrees.

Georgia’s jobless rate is at its lowest since the fall of 2007, according to June numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, at 4.8 percent. That’s only slightly down from 4.9 percent in May, but month-to month comparisons can be misleading. If there’s a small uptick in next month’s numbers it doesn’t mean bad news. The big picture is the state’s employment numbers are looking good. As recently as June 2014, we stood 7.2 percent. Six years ago, the rate was 10.1 percent.

I hope Falcons’ star receiver Julio Jones does a better job of holding onto the football this fall than his jewelry this summer. Jones lost a diamond earring valued at $160,000 while jet skiing. So distraught was he that he hired a team of divers at a cost of $10,000 to search for the earring, which I’ll bet is in the belly of a grouper. I have a hard time feeling sorry for Jones. First of all, that’s chump change to him. More to the point, what part of his brain disengaged when he decided to wear expensive jewelry while jet skiing?

The news that U.S Sen. John McCain has brain cancer stunned everyone along the political spectrum. A photo of a young McCain as a Navy fighter pilot went viral on the internet. His fate back then was to be shot down and held prisoner under inhumane conditions by the North Vietnamese. Agree with him or not, McCain is a person of courage and commitment. He was a friend of the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, who died of the same disease in 2009. McCain wept openly when Ted Kennedy was buried next to his brothers, John and Robert, at Arlington National Cemetery.

The two men were of different political par- ties and ideologies, but they worked together on numerous important national issues. When they couldn’t see eye-to-eye, they disagreed respect- fully. Contrast that to Washington today, with its lackluster political discourse and direction, tweets, and finger-pointing and name-calling.

It was a different time.

J. Bryant Steele was first published when he was 14 and has made a living stringing words together for 40 years. But the main reason he writes is to avoid housework. He has won 50 or so writing awards. He is a graduate of the Grady School of Journalism (The University of Georgia) and of Education for Ministry (The University of the South). He also publishes poetry and fiction. He is the proud father of two magnificent adult children. He is also very opinionated.