A Song That Reminds You of Someone: Just Kiss Me, Harry Connick Jr.
I was too young to see (or fully understand) When Harry Met Sally when it was released. But the guy who did the soundtrack turned up as the musical guest on Saturday Night Live to promote it. My dad loved SNL and taped it on the old VCR each Saturday, pausing out the commercials while previewing it for me. God forbid my mother allow her daughter to watch something so foul. When I had the opportunity to watch this particular episode of SNL with my dad, I fell in love with Harry at first listen. My dad took note of it and personally picked me up one of my first CDs for my 13th birthday that summer: Blue Light, Red Light. Thanks, dad. <3
I loved that big band sound and Harry’s fun-loving attitude. I learned every word to every song rather quickly. As a typical 13 year old tends to do. Screw the pop, Top 40 bullshit. I was totally into this Harry guy, even if no one else my age was. My standards went up a notch not only musically, but when it came to future boyfriends. I wanted to fall in love with a guy who could sing, maybe even play these songs for me. Especially Just Kiss Me. I wanted someone to want and love me for me, not my lipstick… that I wasn’t even wearing yet.
The summer before my senior year of high school, I was cast in a community theater production of The Wizard of Oz. A couple weeks into rehearsals, the guy who was playing The Wizard came into the auditorium wearing a Blue Light, Red Light shirt. My jaw dropped. My heart raced. I had to talk to him. I was dating the guy who played the Scarecrow pretty seriously at the time, so I didn’t think much of a connection. But when I talked to this fellow HCJ fan, something came over me other than nervous, girly 16-yr old giggles. There was a definite attraction and some level of a connection was formed between us. He was a little cocky about getting the shirt at a concert, and about seeing Harry again that summer. He could’ve asked me to join him, but he didn’t. But the cockiness didn’t annoy me. If anything, his confidence made me want him more. But, I ignored & buried my feelings a bit. That was the only actual conversation we had that summer. Just when he wore that shirt.
I went through my senior year of high school, where the Scarecrow & I parted ways in an emotional mess. Then I hooked up with a younger guy who made me laugh, enjoy life and feel like a queen. When the summer rolled around again, I graduated with a little more experience and was cast as the title role for the community theater’s production of Gypsy. The guy my character had a crush on in the show was none other than Mr Blue Light Red Light shirt himself, the former Wizard of Oz. I turned into a bad girlfriend to my then boyfriend and flirted my ass off… but I couldn’t help it. He was absolutely reciprocating. And the vibes between us were fierce. My Grandmother even noticed “Oh, oh Kelli, who is that Fred Astaire fellow you were dancing & singing with on the stage there, eh? He’s a fox! You should date him, eh Kelli!” Oh Grandma. The show ended, and my current boyfriend knew where my heart was, so we agreed to start seeing other people. Then… Nothing. I didn’t hear from anyone for a week! And I was too much of a puss back then to call him myself. Just as the show-high dissipated & my heart started to spiral downward, the former Wizard called me to see if I wanted to go roller-blading with him. He picked me up a half hour later and we talked for 3 hours, non-stop. I had more in common with this guy than I had ever had in common with anyone in my life. Best first date ever!
A few weeks later, on our first road trip together, the first CD he played was Blue Light, Red Light. When we weren’t discussing the album and what it meant to us, we would sing every lyric together, in full, confident, choir-geek voice. We even shared our disappointment for the exact same songs. I couldn’t believe it, should someone pinch me?! Not only did I finally find someone who appreciated Harry as much as I did, but we were singing harmonies together and connecting on multiple levels. Then, the last song of the album came on: Just Kiss Me. It was like this guy had read my mind. Even though he was driving, he sang every word directly to me. Just like I had dreamed of happening when I first listened to the album.
Nearly 16 years later, the former Wizard & I are happily married with 2 daughters, more in love than ever.