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Singing To My Valentine in Nashville

For those who are in possession of a romantic's heart, Valentine's Day is a wonderful opportunity to proclaim your love to those most dear.

As I contemplate such proclamations, and in particular, proclamations made while traveling; my mind immediately races to a day, twenty-seven years ago, when my soon-to-be wife asked me to record a song for her while we were traveling in Nashville, Tennessee.

We were on a week-long vacation in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and decided to make a day trip to Nashville.  As we were walking through one of the tourist areas, Carol spied one of those recording studios that markets themselves to passerby's offering the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make a recording in Nashville, Tennessee.

With the foreknowledge of my college degree in vocal performance, she batted her eyelashes and asked if I would be willing to make a recording for her.

Immediately, a part of me felt hearts of love swirling in the air as I imagined the opportunity to proclaim my love to her in song; something I had yet ventured to do.

However, as quickly as that thought entered my mind, a second, powerful thought came rushing in with warnings of tearful displays of emotion.  After all, my upbringing taught me that it was somehow un-masculine to display such emotion.

As the desire to display my love did battle with the fear of an emotional display, I threw caution to the wind, and into the recording studio we went.

With my heart pounding in my chest, we entered the small sound-proof room and decided that I would sing Kenny Roger's "Lady".  We both put on headphones that would allow us to hear the background recording as well as my recorded voice.

The music started.  My heart was pounding so loud, I was afraid it might be audible to the microphone.  I started singing.

As I got my first wobbly phrase out, I looked over at my betrothed.  That was a mistake!  My voice cracked.  I had difficulty keeping my diaphragm under control.  My eyes started to well up with tears.

Immediately, I determined to pretend she wasn't there and attempt to work my way through this recording.  After all, I knew that she would be sharing this recording with every breathing creature on the planet. If I didn't want to wind up sounding like a croaking frog, I'd better get a grip.

Well, suffice it to say, I didn't die that day from strong heart palpitations.  And, although this was far, far from my best performance; it is certainly one of our most cherished.

I'm going to share this recording with you.  I ask only one thing: please give me a little grace, and give me about 30 seconds into the recording to gain a little composure.

OK.  Here we go...

Click the "play" button to listen

Do you have any romantic travel memories to share?  If so, share with us in the comments section below.

David and Carol Porter are contributors on the AARP blog, blog regularly at and keep us updated on their travels via their Facebook and Twitter accounts.

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