Daily Archives: November 19, 2005

She’d Be Mine

She'd Be Mine

When I was a kid, southern California was still a place of separate towns and cities, with open space in between, usually farmland, orchards, wetlands, or just plain “unimproved” land, interspersed with patches of oil fields and a few military bases.

My part of it, Orange County, consisted mostly of flat coastal plain, and, at its eastern edge, rolling foothills. Along the the coast were expanses of dairy fields, interspersed with soy bean fields, and clusters of oil wells.

Toward the eastern foothills, where I grew up, it was mostly orange orchards. At one time there were hundreds of thousands of trees, typicallly in methodically neat rows. The orchards were interlaced with long, straight, narrow roads, just big enough for two farm trucks to pass each other.

And almost all of the roads were lined on both sides with single rows of eucalyptus trees, planted in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as wind breaks against the hot, fierce Santa Ana winds.

[As I write this, we’ve just been whipped by several days of Santa Anas and the skies are a smoky salmon color in the fading sun, the smoke of distant brushfires biting at the sinuses and throat.]

Most of the eucalyptus trees are gone now, but you still see rows of them scattered around, particularly as you near the foothills. You’ll often see them at the edges of the parking lot of older shopping centers.

It was just such a row of eucalyptus I had in mind for the opening images of this song.

Normally my songs come to me as theoretically clever or poignant or just weird phrases but this song really came an image: the protagonist seeing his long-ago girlfriend in her role as a young mother with her children (and the convenient symbol of a certain kind of domesticity, the iconic white Volvo)… parallel universes both inhabiting the same shopping center, with its row of eucalyptus filtering the slanting afternoon sun.

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting something of a companion piece to this song, “Sometimes.” I wrote today’s song immediately after “Sometimes” — and, as often happens, the same themes and general emotional schema run through them — but they’re very different songs, highlighted by very different acoustic performance styles (at least in the case of these two versions).


She’d Be Mine

Last time I saw her a couple years ago
she was shovin’ a couple of kids in a white volvo
the sun came down through the eucalyptus trees
made her hair just glow like it always used to be

right then I wish I could have said the words
that I could never say
cause if I’d told her baby I’ll be yours
she’d be mine today

the pool house the beach house the boat house by the lake
I’ll be damned if I remember a thing
but everytime I think about holding hands in school
it makes my heart just sing like it always used to do

right now I wish I could have said the words…

sometimes when I sleep I call her name
a thousand girls have told me so
I threw it all away and now I want it all back
and I know it can never be so
I know it can never be so

right now I wish I could have said the words
that I could never say
cause if I’d told her baby I’ll be yours
she’d be mine today

October 1998
(C)1998 TK Major