I woke up one morning (a long time ago) singing an old Eddie Arnold song about a boy who said “I wish I had a nickel, I know what I would do, I’d spend it all on candy and I’d give it all to you.”
The first two lines to that song stayed with me throughout the day but I could not, for the life of me, remember the words that came next. While I have been cursed with a recall capability that is lax in the memory of important things such as birthdays, anniversaries and names of people I have known for years I rarely forget the words to a song I knew well.
In the afternoon of that day, as we were returning home from San Angelo, I still had that song on my mind. So it was that I said unto my wife, “Wife, if I had a nickel you know what I would do?”
“I simply can’t wait to learn what you would do with a nickel.” said she.
“Why”, said I, “I’d spend it all on candy and I’d give it all to you.”
“How nice” she replied. “You are getting so extravagant in your old age. What are you trying to do? Pull my leg?”
“No” said I, “Those are the words from an old song made popular by Eddie Arnold.”
“I’m not acquainted with Eddie Arnold and I still think you are pulling my leg,” said she in a tone that indicated she would just a soon drop the subject.
“Dammit, it’s the truth, woman. And as soon as we get home I will prove it by your son-in-law. You know very well that he knows all of the western songs that have ever been written and as far as that goes he’s so durned smart he knows a little and sometimes a lot about anything else that has ever happened.”
“Why would you say something like that?” she asked.
“It’s very simple” I said. “You know very well that I am 25 years older than that kid and yet every time I bring up something from the early days of my past he seems to be as well acquainted with those events as I. I am always trying to catch him off base but have seldom been able to get him into a corner that he could not wiggle out of.”
“He is a pretty smart boy,” said she, “and I like him.”
“Of course you do but I’ll bet it’s mostly because he always says that you are the best mother-in-law he ever had. But as soon as we get home I will call him and let him prove to you that Eddie Arnold sang that song.”
“When James tells me that Eddie sang that song I’ll believe it, but not until then.”
This true story ends in this manner: When we got home I called James and asked him if he remembered Eddie Arnold singing “I wish I had a nickel.”
“Sure I do.” said he.
“Then will you please tell your mother-in-law,” I said as I handed my wife the telephone.
After listening for a few minutes my wife said “Thank you James” and hung up.
“Did he tell you that there was such a song? I asked.
“Yes,” said she.
“Then why did it take him so long to tell you?” I inquired.
“W-e-e-e-l-l” she replied,” to tell you the truth, he was singing it to me.”
Didn’t I tell you that guy was smart? Then too, I learned the last two lines that I had forgotten:
“For that’s how much I love you baby, that’s how much I love you.”