Each year when my husband and I celebrate our anniversary, we always dance to “our song.” Here’s how we found it.

In the spring of 1999, my groom, Charlie, and I were planning our wedding, which would take place on September 23, 2000. This wedding business was new to me. I was getting married for the first time well beyond my ingenue years and I’d never been a girl who’d dreamed about my wedding. I’d hardly even thought about getting married. But becoming engaged to my at-long-last true love brought about delightfully surprising changes. Yes, I did want a wedding with all the pomp and circumstance.

As the larger decisions–ceremony, reception, guests, food, attire–came together, we began to consider the smaller details. One detail turned out to be not so small. What song did we want for our first dance as husband and wife? We didn’t have an “our song.” The thought of our song was so romantic and classic, so Bogie and Bacall, so Tracy and Hepburn, so Liz and Dick. How does a couple get one, make the decision that this is our song? It’s not something you just pick out of the vinyl-coated, buffalo-wings-grease-smeared pages of a karaoke song book.

While we loved to dance, we’d never taken those ballroom dancing lessons we’d always talked about so while a swing tune like “Fly Me to the Moon” was appealing… No. We wanted something that hadn’t been done to death. No “From this Moment On.” No “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” And the song had to be classy. Even if it wasn’t the elusive “our song,” it had to be a great song.

We took a getaway weekend to La Jolla, California and splurged on a stay at the wonderful La Valencia Hotel. One evening in the lobby bar there was a piano singer. He started playing and singing a song that made me sit straighter. What was that tune? It was familiar, but I’d never really paid attention to it before. Now I was enthralled, especially when my husband-to-be spontaneously started singing along:

“I can only give you country walks in springtime,
and a hand to hold when leaves begin to fall.

And a love whose burning light,
Will warm a winter’s night…”

The lyrics expressed what we felt about each other. The melody was memorable and, also important, easy to dance to. I asked Charlie, “What’s that song?” He turned to me and sang, “That’s all. That’s all…”

I learned it was written in 1952 by Alan Brandt and Bob Haymes. It’s a jazz standard recorded by many greats including Nat “King” Cole, Frank Sinatra, Mel Torme and Bobby Darin.

Here’s a lovely rendition by Cynthia Lin on ukulele that she performed at her sister’s wedding.

Piano bars are rare finds these days, especially with a singer who knows all the old songs, but whenever we do we always request “That’s All.” Listening, we still grow misty eyed and sometimes we dance.

So, Charlie, here’s a toast to our song. Happy anniversary, sweetheart.

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