Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Brad Paisley – "Ticks" (2007)

I'd like to kiss you way back in the sticks
I'd like to walk you through a field of wildflowers
And I'd like to check you for ticks

You would think that the wedding announcements published in the “Vows” column of the New York Times would typically feature the Ivy League-educated sons and daughters of the rich and powerful.  Couples like Chelsea Clinton and her hedge-fund-founder husband, Marc Mezvinsky, in other words.

The Times is usually so starchy that it insists on the use of courtesy titles — like Mr. and Ms. – in news stories.  So a story about the Rolling Stones will probably refer to Mr. Jagger and Mr. Richards.  (For some reason, athletes are an exception to this rule.  So you won’t see an account of a Wimbledon final reporting that “Mr. Djokavic prevailed over Mr. Federer in five sets.”)  

But while “Vows” does use honorifics, nothing else about it is the least bit Times-like.

In today’s 2 or 3 lines, we take a look at a “Vows” column that tells the tale of the courtship and eventual marriage of two Hamptons yoga instructors.  (You can click here to read the entire column.)

The column opens by introducing us to the bride:

People describe Erika Halweil, a longtime yoga teacher in the Hamptons, as someone who has a lot of backbone in every way.  She has great posture.  She rarely gets upset over things like parking tickets or bad-hair days. (Naturally pretty, she probably doesn’t have many.) . . .

Ms. Halweil, 36, grew up in New York in a tightknit family of four who loved to spend weekends together foraging for elderberries in Central Park, watching old Laurel and Hardy movies or surf-casting on Long Island. . . .

Two paragraphs in, and I’m already speechless.  (“She has great posture”?)

The bride and groom warm up
for their wedding night
Now it’s time to meet the groom:

[Corey] De Rosa, now 40, grew up in a big Italian family in Hempstead, N.Y. . . . In 2003, while living in a loft in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, he started biking across the Williamsburg Bridge every morning to practice Ashtanga yoga with Eddie Stern, a well-known teacher in SoHo.  “I needed to transition from my party life into my balanced life,” he said. “It takes a long time. It’s not easy.”

Three years later, he opened his own Ashtanga studio, Tapovana, in Sag Harbor.  He painted the walls dark red, installed almost-black wood floors and put yellow candles everywhere.  “It was like a womb,” he said. “It took you somewhere else.” 

(Red walls, black floors, and yellow candles doesn’t sound that much like a womb to me, but I can’t honestly say that I remember my time in utero all that well.)

More about Mr. De Rosa:

At first, he was terrified, not at all sure he wanted the responsibility of owning a business.  “You always need to go a little further than you think you can in order to make progress,” said Mr. De Rosa, who in a single conversation might discuss Hindu deities, the connection between the knees and the ego, an energy healer he admires, Indian spices, juice cleanses and his ideas about love (timing is everything).

(“The connection between the knees and the ego”?)

The groom wore white
The next paragraph really comes out of left field:

On Aug. 17, 2008, Ms. Halweil was driving on Montauk Highway when a 5-year-old girl rode a red toy wagon down a steep driveway and shot out onto the road in front of Ms. Halweil’s car.  When she recounts the accident (the child died and Ms. Halweil was not charged) you can really see her calm, philosophical and open demeanor.  In an almost plaintive voice, she said: “It was clear sky, clear road.  I saw a flash of red coming toward my car.”  She swerved but still hit the wagon.  “I got out of the car and this really beautiful little girl with pale skin and blue eyes was laying in the road.  Her eyes were glazed over.  I knew the spirit had left her body.”

Today, she says the accident taught her about fate, her own and the girl’s, but at the time she was devastated. 

Fortunately for her, Mr. De Rosa’s yoga studio was just down the street:

She started taking daily classes . . . and finding comfort in Ashtanga yoga’s rigorous, some say purifying, series of poses that are practiced in silence.  Sometimes, she stayed after class to discuss meditation techniques or the yogic perspective on suffering with Mr. De Rosa.  He said he found her “amazingly beautiful and radiating,” but because he had a longtime girlfriend at the time, he said he felt bound to resist falling for Ms. Halweil.

“I was really looking for things to not be interested in,” he said. “She reminded me of my mother, her intelligence and wit and the fact that she loves to sing.”

In the fall he asked her to stop taking classes at Tapovana.  “I just had this realization that it wasn’t time for me and Erika to even be friends,” he said.  “I chose not to spend any more time around her.  Our relationship was totally innocent but it was getting stronger.”   

That winter, Halweil and her husband agreed to divorce, while De Rosa and his girlfriend split up.  Faster than you could say “Jack Robinson,” they were a couple.  

The Halweil-De Rosa reception
There are sooooo many other quotable lines in this story.  But I’ve got places to be and people to see, so I’ll limit myself to just these few:

– “She’s so light and fun,” Mr. De Rosa said. “No matter what’s happening, it’s fun.  And if it’s not, it turns fun really quickly.”

– “I would cook all the time at her cottage,” said Mr. De Rosa, who is so knowledgeable about food he can tell you what to eat to feel more grounded, to get over a broken heart or to sleep better.  

– Their daughter, Neelu, was born at home on June 15, 2011, shortly after Ms. Halweil drank a concoction of castor oil, pineapple juice, vodka and baking soda prescribed by her midwife to speed contractions.

The column ends with a description of the wedding ceremony, which one guest described as “just super-solid and super-honest”:

The ceremony was led by the bride’s brother, who shared several pieces of advice about marriage that he had collected beforehand from family members and friends: think, laugh and love as often as possible; save money; check each other for ticks nightly to prevent Lyme disease; let the other person win sometimes; and, during difficult times, remember, this too shall pass.

“Check each other for ticks nightly to prevent Lyme disease”?  The brother must be a Brad Paisley fan.

* * * * *
“Ticks” was a #1 hit for Paisley in 2007.  

Reviewer Kevin John Coyne was not a big fan of the song.  He wrote that “this may be the very first mainstream country single to completely skeeze me out.”

Here’s “Ticks”:

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

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