I believe that one telling characteristic of a person is the music they enjoy. So how could I not feel the same way about my characters? I think about how Alex likes Motown and bubblegum music from the 50’s and 60’s, just like I think about how he likes sports and physics and making a really good pizza from scratch. For me, this is part of the process of getting to know him.

With the help of a man with musical tastes similar to Alex’s, I was able to put together my character’s own distinctive list of favorite songs, nine of which are woven into his story. The songs are:

  1. Fame” performed by Irene Cara
  2. Only the Strong Survive” written by Jerry Butler et al and sung by Jerry Butler
  3. Time” performed by Hootie and the Blowfish
  4. Changes in Latitudes” written and sung by Jimmy Buffet (a song for Kyle and Jake)
  5. Stop! In the Name of Love” recorded by The Supremes
  6. Seasons in the Sun” with lyrics by poet Rod McKuen and sung by Terry Jacks
  7.  “Holding Out for a Hero” performed by Bonnie Tyler
  8. Stand by Me” performed by Ben E. King
  9. Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” performed by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell

When my books appear on Kindle, I link the song title in my text to the chance to purchase it on Amazon. My other electronic versions are distributed through Smashwords where no such link is allowed. I’ve tried several approaches, but have finally settled on the one I like best. For every song, I’ve found a live performance that I think shows a little of a the personality of the singer or of the song itself. I’ll admit that I’ve had a lot of fun seeking these out. Often the quality of the video isn’t as good as the more glossy clips, but I’ve picked each one for a reason. I have removed the references to the music in the paperback version, but both the songs and their context within the story can be found here.

What follows is

  1. a little description of how each song is referred to in the book
  2. a short excerpt that contains the musical reference
  3. my favorite video of the song
  4. links to places to buy the music, or learn more about it
  5. in some cases there are also relevant updates about more contemporary music.

Interested readers are encouraged to support all the artists and websites. Enjoy!

Fame1. “Fame” performed by Irene Cara

February is music awards time and the novel z2 begins with hero Alex Zeitman sitting dejectedly in a hospital room watching the 1981 Grammy Awards.  Alex likes his music uptempo and he’s rooting for Fame, made famous by Irene Cara, to win song of the year.  He’s just torn his ACL and his dreams for playing professional basketball are going up in smoke, and to make the evening even more miserable Christopher Cross with his soft rock sound of “Sailing” ends up winning in every major category. Christopher Cross even beats out Pink Floyd for album of the year.  What is the world coming to?

Later, leg elevated and packed in ice, he was taken to a local emergency room. Several other players came along and tried to lift his spirits before the doctor saw him, before the doctor told him that it was likely that more than his evening had ended. His anterior cruciate ligament, commonly called the ACL, had been ruptured quite badly, and he was absolutely out for the short remainder of his college basketball career. The coach was sympathetic enough, even though Alex suspected that the man was mainly relieved that it hadn’t been a sophomore or junior who had been injured.

The hospital staff settled him into a room, having insisted on keeping him overnight for observation. The last of his teammates left, not knowing what more to say. So as he waited for the new pain medication to kick in, he morosely watched Christopher Cross receive a Grammy for song of the year on the tiny television. Alex had nothing against the soft rock song “Sailing” that seemed to be sweeping up the awards that night, but frankly being in a sailboat wasn’t an image that moved Alex much. All that sitting still. He would much rather have seen Pink Floyd win best album. And for best song? He guessed he had been rooting for “Fame”. It was catchy. With a beat. The way Alex preferred music.

Did you really think that fame would make you live forever? He laughed at himself. Of course not. Alex thought about his hopes and dreams for playing some pro ball before he got older and had to move on to something boring but acceptable like coaching high school ball. The doctor had just counseled him that a lengthy program of rehabilitation would help him recover eventually and that surgery was of course possible. But Alex had to face the fact that there was no real excuse for devoting himself full time to his own recovery. With no professional team to pick up the expense, it wasn’t likely that he or his folks could justify all the money for the sort of surgery and rehab it would take to get him back to where he had been. He hadn’t been that good. And, even worse, he’d still be prone to knee injuries for the rest of his career. It just didn’t make sense.

So twenty-two-year-old Alex Zeitman lay with his sandy-colored head on a hospital pillow and sadly watched the end of the 1981 Grammy Awards as he let go of a dream. Crowds wouldn’t cheer as he flew down the basketball court, or be amazed as his sturdy, lightly freckled hands performed spectacular physical feats that would, maybe, have had people remembering his name, at least for a day. He would not play basketball for a living after all.

Check out this video to see why Alex was cheering on the song “Fame.”

You can purchase the music to Fame here.

Alex Zeitman is, of course, made up of a good bit of Sherrie Cronin, as are all my characters, the sympathetic and the less so.  My tastes in music run more towards stirring lyrics and less towards rhythm than Alex’s tastes do, but in February 2014 I was pretty sure that Alex would have joined me in cheering for Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know”.  It’s a haunting two-sided song, yet it has that mesmerizing tempo that Alex loves. I was glad to see it win record of the year, and to know that in spite of Alex’s concerns thirty-two years ago, good music has hardly died!

None of live videos of “Somebody That I Used to Know” that I could find had very good audio. My favorite is this one of Gotye performing the song in Brussels in February 2012 along with guest vocals from Noemie Wolfs from the Belgian band Hooverphonic. Great fun.

61DxiskibfL._SL500_AA280_2. “Only the Strong Survive” written by Jerry Butler et al and sung by Jerry Butler

Alex, the hero of z2, is a strong man in the classic sense in that he is big and athletic. But he is also wiser than most, and he knows that true strength comes in many types of packages. Over the years he has coached a lot of students, some talented and some less so, some with easy lives and many with serious obstacles to overcome. As he gets to know the new transfer student named Xuha he recognizes that along with the boy’s unusually short stature is a strength that is both physical and mental. When it comes to music, our hero Alex has a fondness for oldies and as he hits tennis balls with Xuha (pronounced “schwa”) he hears the Jerry Butler hit from 1968 in his head.

“Your real parents?” he asked hesitantly.

“Never knew my dad,” Xuha shook his head. “But I’m told he was not only there when I was born, but he delivered me.” To Alex’s surprised look he added, “I was an emergency birth in a car. Not my style to come into this world in a normal fashion, huh?” Alex could see the raw emotion behind the bravado.

“You knew your mother?” he asked gently.

“Oh yes. She came to the United States because my grandfather was here for cancer treatments. They were from Mexico City. Nice established family. Had some money, at least before my grandfather got ill. The treatments didn’t help and my grandfather died here in Houston hours after I was born. I’m told I was rushed to his deathbed. His first, his only, grandchild. He cried when he saw me and then he died.” Xuha laughed. “How’s that for a start in life?”

“You knew your grandmother then?”

“She raised me until I was almost six. Sort of.”

“Sort of?” Alex asked. He hoped he wasn’t treading too far into personal ground.

“Well, she never was very strong after my grandfather died. Sad. Sick a lot. Always crying. Lot of crying in my history, huh? But she wouldn’t go back to Mexico right away because they buried my grandfather here and she wanted to spend time by his grave. I’m told that my mother agreed to stay with her until she was done grieving, and my grandmother kept promising that she’d be ready to go in just a month or two more but she never was.”

“Your dad didn’t stay too?”

“He couldn’t. He had to get back to work. My grandmother told me that he got angry with my mother when she didn’t come home after a while and my parents fought on the phone and then my mom got hit by a car.”


“Yes. Buella said I was three, three and a half. I don’t remember my mother. But after she died all my grandmother did was cry every day and night and I do remember all those tears. She blamed herself for everything. I used to heat canned things up for dinner and try to get her to eat. I guess I was almost six when she died. Just died in her bed.”

Alex looked at Xuha and watched the boy make a clown’s sad face that mocked his own sorrow. “Then I was the one who cried. I thought it was my fault that she died, you see. That if I’d known how to cook she’d have eaten and gotten strong and gotten out of bed and then fed us both.” He added a comic eye roll. “A child’s logic, huh? If I could have cooked better I’d have had someone to feed me.” Alex didn’t laugh.

“Your foster mother found you then?”

“Yeah. She was a neighbor, and according to her she was kind of keeping an eye on me already. Newly married, really pregnant with her first child. When Buella died she and her husband took me in and fed me and never fought once about my being there. They raised and treated me like their own, as best they could. Most of what I know about my real parents comes from things my grandmother said, but she told Maria, my foster mom, the same stories. So I believe them.”

“Wow Xuha.” Alex wasn’t sure what else to say when an odd question occurred to him. “So you were born in the U.S.? You’re a citizen?”

“I think so. I have a birth certificate. From the hospital in Houston where my grandfather died.”

“Where does it say you were born?”

“In route to hospital.”

”Well that should count,” Alex mused.

“Why do you ask?” Xuha seemed a little defensive now.

“Oh, it’s nothing. I guess because I am helping out some friends of my son. There are some complicated nationality and immigration issues involved and he knows that I’ve dealt with some of this before. So it was on my mind. It just seems that you’ve had enough trouble in your young life, and for some reason the animosity towards undocumented immigrants has grown exponentially in our region over the last couple of years. It’s pretty sad. I’m just glad to know that you’re okay in that regard.”

Xuha didn’t say anything for several seconds. Alex took the cue and sipped his own tea in silence.

“I don’t think that Maria and Diego have the same luxury,” Xuha said finally.

“No, I was guessing that they didn’t. Let’s keep that between us. Your foster parents sound like wonderful people working very hard to raise a family and do what’s right. I’d hate to see any trouble come their way.”

As Alex and Xuha made their way back onto the court to finish their workout, Alex couldn’t help but notice the song that was playing in his head. Without thinking about it, he was hitting tennis balls to the rhythm of the Motown hit “Only the Strong Survive”.

Check out this video. It will have you swaying in your chair, humming along and feeling just a little stronger yourself. If interested, you can purchase the song at

3. “Time” performed by Hootie and the Blowfish

If you search for song titles containing a particular noun, it should come as no surprise that the most popular word is “love”. But what is the second most popular? My empirical evidence suggests that it is “time.” That confounding concept that gives and takes away in equal measure is the source of no end of angst, and therefore of music. I knew that my book z2, which is about time in so many ways, needed this song.

Alex wondered how much of that was his own fault. Maybe he had been doing the same thing for too long. Was it getting stale? In truth, the student who showed up for a high school physics class was seldom enthused. But maybe he needed to be working harder these days to capitalize on what little enthusiasm existed.

On the other hand, in spite of some of the behavior problems in his regular physics classes, the students this past year had tended to be more engaged than usual. Even his most potentially unruly class, third period with the three T-heads, as they now called themselves, rose to the standard of intelligent discussion on occasion. Alex wondered how many of his eighty or so first-year physics students would go on to take the more advanced class next year.

This bunch would be a fine group for trying something a little new, something designed to grab the interest of an eighteen year old. What would he have cared about at eighteen? Besides sports and girls?

Alex started toying with ideas, and found himself humming a familiar tune. What was that song? He struggled for a few minutes trying to place the melody. That’s right, he thought. The song was called “Time”.

Because of family, I’ve spent a fair amount of time in Charleston SC, and am in fact here as I write this.  So it made me smile to find this version of Hootie and the Blowfish performing their 1995 hit “Time” live in Charleston S.C. in 2006. Enjoy!

Learn more at

4.buffetChanges in Latitudes” written and sung by Jimmy Buffet .

While Alex is hard at work trying to solve the Maya puzzle, Kyle and Jake are among the others attacking the problem in their own way. This song is mentioned in z2 when Kyle and Jake meet in Mexico to discuss their strategy.

At first Jake embraced his role of busy, frustrated financier, but by Saturday night the sun, heat and margaritas had worked their magic and left him in no particular hurry. By Sunday he and Kyle were sitting in a bar listening to Jimmy Buffet’s “Changes in Latitudes”, drinking beers with lime and laughing like it was old times. When he woke up Monday he was more than a little sad that he had to traipse off to a courthouse with Kyle and then board a plane to go home, and he told Kyle so.“I lured you down here for a couple of reasons, my man,” Kyle confessed as they walked slowly, drinking coffee and eating pastries as they moved. “And that was one of them. You need to remember how to be less uptight. ”

Jake almost came back with a retort about how someone needed to pay the bills, but he decided to let it pass. Sensing that his friend’s silence was best left alone, Kyle changed the subject.

“I figured that maybe we were being too cautious with our search. That’s because the child our princess sent this direction was the one she talks about as being only ten years old. I’m thinking of my own ten-year-old nephew and I don’t seeing him making it ten miles from home. But this kid is considered almost an adult in his world. He’s trained to live off of the land. And he probably takes a family obligation much more seriously than you and I can imagine.”

Kyle stopped to drain the last of his coffee before he went on. “It says that his mother told him to walk all the way to the sea. If you’re going more or less west from Lake Peten, and you’ve got to be going off course here and there because there are rivers and lakes and even small mountain ranges to cross, anyway, thanks to the curve in southern Mexico you don’t hit the sea for a very long time. Not until you get all the way to Acapulco.”

In April 2010, the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded in the  Gulf of Mexico. Eleven people were killed and it took experts three months to stop the flow of oil onto the sea floor. Those living along the gulf suffered significantly, and t shirts saying FUBP were selling well in New Orleans. You could see the oil slick from outer space.  We held our collective breath at the unexpected experimenter in what 5 million barrels of oil discharged rapidly at on ocean depth of 5000 feet might do to the world’s ecosystem. Those of us who write science fiction in our heads all day came up with plenty of possibilities.  None of them ended well.

It was a significant to me for more reasons, however, than concern and outrage. My day job is in the oil business. I consider myself a pragmatic environmentalist. Over the years I met people who worked for BP, and they were as reasonable and ethical any other group. The fatal combination of cost-cutting, bad decisions and eventually bad responses was tragic, pointing to the need for better regulation, better enforcement, and far less hubris when we pit ourselves against nature.

The novel z2 takes place during 2010 and Alex, the hero of the novel is married to a geophysicist.  When I wrote z2 I let his wife Lola express some of my own concerns on the subject.

Alex was used to listening to Lola fret about items in the news, and had long ago accepted that she took world events to heart in a way he simply didn’t. But tonight she was especially distraught. A drilling rig called the Deepwater Horizon had just exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, apparently killing eleven workers and leaving undetermined amounts of oil spewing out into the sea.

“Geez, those poor men. Their poor families. You know, I’ve stood out there on the rotary floor, feet away from these guys. Alex, those roughnecks are amazing.” She thought for a second. “I could have been out there.”

“But you weren’t there,” Alex said calmly. He knew that Lola’s fervor was only partly fueled by her concern about the injuries and deaths. Nigeria had a horrible history of largely ignored oil spills, and Lola was passionate about her industry’s need to operate without such destructive mistakes.

“These are my people,” she said sadly. “Most of them want to do things right. But they just f**ked-up big time.”

“Don’t get ahead of yourself here,” Alex tried to comfort her. “They’ll probably have it plugged back up by tomorrow and everything will be fine. “

I wanted the book to also present another point of view. For the video of Jimmy Buffet singing “Changes in Latitudes” I was able to find a version of him performing the song at a concert in Gulf Shores, Alabama on July 11, 2010 designed to raised money for those damaged by BP’s ongoing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. It’s a great counterpoint to Lola’s perspective.  Please enjoy it here.

Surpemes5.“Stop! In the Name of Love” recorded by The Supremes

Like the other members of the Zeitman family, Alex finds that music helps him do the extraordinary things of which he is capable. To me, this is merely interjecting a bit of realism into the plot. Music helps me stay awake late at night when I am driving. Music helps me get out of bed and face a tough day, thanks to the fact that I have an alarm tied to an mp3 player with a special selection of wake-up songs. I play one kind of music when I am cooking a big meal or doing a chore that takes extra energy, and other types when I am stressed and need to relax. I think most people use music, the right kind of music for them, to bring out their strengths and to help them do what needs to be done. Because Alex can slow time down, it is natural that he gravitates to songs that tie into this talent. Enjoy this short excerpt from z2, and the video below.

Alex stood in the parking lot with his hands full of books and supplies to bring into his classroom. School was out for the day and it was better to carry all this stuff back in now rather than deal with it in the morning when he would inevitably be running late. The heat sizzled off of the asphalt and the glare of the late afternoon sun on the windshields was blinding. He gave the car door a hard push with his knee and then he remembered. His keys were on the car seat. The locks were on. Damn.

As Diana Ross and the Supremes started singing “Stop! In the Name of Love” in his head, Alex dropped the books and thrust his hands into the narrowing opening, trying to get the gradually slowing car door to hit his arms or at least his wrists. He did not want to break a finger. The door didn’t stop, but the speed of the door became slower and slower as he thrust forward until finally it barreled into his left lower arm and he felt the pain. Ouch, that was going to cause some bruising, he thought with a wince.

He stood for a few seconds in the blinding bright shimmer of sunlight on metal and glass, and let his heart slow down and the world around him speed back up. As he bent down to pick up the books he had dropped he thought, I have got to learn more about what the hell is going on with me.

Watch the Supremes perform their hit song live on Shindig in 1965.

You might also want to check out this Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Tribute to the Supremes, and consider purchasing this song from

6. “Seasons in the Sun” with lyrics by poet Rod McKuen and sung by Terry Jacks

Wiki says that bubblegum music is “contrived and marketed to appeal to pre-teens and teenagers, is produced in an assembly-line process … often using unknown singers and has an upbeat sound. … a catchy melody, simple chords, simple harmonies, [and] dancy (but not necessarily danceable) beats…

What’s not to like about that? As far as the fifty year old hero of z2, Alex, is concerned, nothing. Alex has plenty of mature thoughts, but he thinks that music is for whistling, and exercising to and bubble gum works just fine. In fact, he is rather proud of his collection spanning five decades of catchy music with a beat and not a lot of complicated messages.

In Chapter 13 of the book, he gets to show off his collection to his tennis protege Xuha while they practice.

Alex kept on old stereo system in his garage where he could play his vast collection of bubblegum songs as loud as he liked while he worked. His taste in music often evoked winces from his family, so he was happy to discover that Xuha didn’t make a single face, and even laughed and sang along when the old classic “Seasons in the Sun” came on. After a good hour or so of tossing balls and serving while listening to some of the most buoyantly cadenced music ever written, they headed into the house for iced tea.

The Zeitman house was kept reasonably clean, but it had never won any awards for neatness, and Alex directed Xuha towards the seldom used dining room so they would have a place to sit that was tidy and out of the way. Oh wait, Alex thought. He had forgotten about Stan’s project scattered across the table.

“What’s this?” Xuha was already studying the wooden box that Alex had constructed in the exact dimensions of Stan’s artifact in hopes that having a physical object to study would give him some additional insight.

“Oh just a project I’m working on for fun with an old high school buddy of mine. I’m not getting very far with it.”

Alex noticed that Xuha was eyeing the box with a more than strange expression on this face. That’s right, Xuha claimed some Mayan ancestry, Alex remembered.

“The hieroglyphs I’ve pasted on to it are Mayan,” Alex confirmed, thinking that was what had caught Xuha’s attention. “The friend is a professor of anthropology at my daughter Ariel’s college. He made me photocopies of the actual sides of the box and I pasted them on because I’m trying to help him figure out what it all means.”

Xuha didn’t say anything at first. Then finally he asked. “When your professor friend is done studying the box, what will happen to it? Who will it belong to?”

Alex shrugged. “I suppose it becomes the property of somebody’s government. Maybe Guatemala? Anyway I’d bet it ends up in a museum somewhere. Why?”

“Just curious,” Xuha said, and then he changed the subject quickly to ask Alex about an upcoming tennis tournament in the area.

Have a little innocent fun yourself checking out this video of “Seasons in the Sun.”

7.  “Holding Out for a Hero”  performed by Bonnie Tyler

Why is the protagonist in a novel usually called the hero of the story? We love our heroes (male and female) and we love to cheer them on. z2 is a story about becoming a hero when necessary, and I knew from the beginning of the book that this song would have to be one of the nine that I included.

“I know.” Alex reached for his clothes as he answered. “Yet, how exactly do I do nothing and just hope everything turns out okay when Teddie’s safety is involved?”

Lola got the quandary, and as Alex pulled on his clothes he realized that it probably was one she dealt with on a daily basis.

“How do you do it?” he asked her, with a budding appreciation for what her gift of telepathy must cost her in terms of peace of mind.

“I always was a worrier,” she shrugged, “so I had some coping mechanisms in place already that probably saved my sanity. But in the case of the safety of your child, you don’t take foolish risks.” She put the hair straightener down and placed her face squarely in front of the small fan she kept in the bathroom just for this purpose. As it blew the heat out of her hair she said, “Could we, like, hire a body guard to follow her around that night? Someone she wouldn’t know about and if it all comes to nothing then no harm done? A chunk of money spent, of course… but…”

“You know, that’s not a bad approach.” Alex was impressed at the sensibleness of it. He buttoned his shirt and started to hum Bonnie Tyler’s catchy tune “Holding out for a Hero.” Lola smiled, but as Alex started to sing the words out loud, the song inspired a variation on Lola’s plan that he liked even better.

“You know, it might not even cost us anything. I know a young man who can handle himself pretty well physically, even though you wouldn’t think so to look at him, and he sure as hell can call for help on a cell phone. He’s said several times now that he wished he had a way to repay me for all those tennis lessons.”

“Xuha? Doesn’t he have a date himself?”

“I don’t think so. He keeps to himself and he doesn’t have much money for going out… let me talk to him.” And so while getting ready for the day, a plan for Teddie’s safety was born.

There are several videos out there of Bonnie Tyler singing this song in recent years. Each of them has a raw intensity that I love even though the years have taken their toll on Bonnie’s voice. However, my hero Alex loves his oldies and I thought that this 1984 video with a young Bonnie Tyler and her 80’s hair was more in the spirit of the novel. It gets cut off just before the ending, but otherwise the video is well done and lots of fun.

Learn more at You can buy this song at Amazon.

8. “Stand by Me” performed by Ben E. King

ben-e-kingMy character Alex is a nice man, and he loves his wife, but he isn’t particularly romantic, at least not in the classical sense. When he thinks of their relationship, in many ways he is more impressed by their enduring friendship than he is by their romance. And when in Chapter 18 he needs to reach Lola with a song, and enlist her cooperation with a plan he has, he turns to this classic.

Alex had learned to tolerate Lola’s telepathic abilities, but as the group gathered up their work to head back to the tiny hotel in Punta Gorda, he realized that he could do better. Why not actively use her talents at times to make both of their lives easier? According to what she had told him, all humans project emotions and to some extent also project the thoughts that drive those emotions. In other words, everybody talks. But hardly anyone listens. Some one percent of the population had vague, undeveloped receptive abilities, Lola had said, and some tiny fraction of that, through desire, practice and circumstance, crossed over into being fully adept receivers.

A little over a year ago, Lola had made just such a crossing. Which meant that now he could send information to her, but not get an answer. Think about it, Alex laughed to himself. In some ways isn’t that every husband’s dream? He can tell his wife things and not have to listen to a word back?

Alex supposed that was a less than admirable thought… but hey, a man thinks what he thinks, and fortunately Lola’s ethics were such that she generally stayed out of his head and let him think in peace. But knowing how much his people-avoiding wife was going to hate the idea of having three unexpected houseguests, and how much better she would deal with it if she had all the warning possible, Alex tried for the first time to actually get Lola’s attention. She said images worked well, so he imagined a picture of himself jumping up and down waving a large bright yellow flag. Look. Look over here. I need to tell you something. This is important. I’m going to totally mess up the rest of your holidays with the kids there and everything by bringing three strangers and two ancient artifacts home with me and I really need you to flow with this.

Then he remembered. Music was one of the easiest items to transmit and receive. What was a song that Lola liked? That he liked? His subconscious mind found it for him, and he hummed and whistled Ben E. King’s anthem of loyalty “Stand by Me” over and over as he helped to load up the car. Of course, he’d follow up with an honest-to-god phone call once he got to the better reception at the hotel, but with any luck by then Lola would already know and be in a frame of mind to help him.

I’ll bet you can’t sit still, or keep from smiling, as you watch this video that celebrates both Ben E. King’s original song and the movie of the same name.

Learn more about the origin of the song and all of its contributors at

9. “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” performed by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell

Much of the group comes together for New Year’s Eve near the end of the novel, and this song is playing in the background when some of the puzzle of the Maya artifact is finally solved. I’ve kept the excerpt here unusually short, lest I give too much of the mystery away.

Finally, the tired group agreed that the night was best spent enjoying themselves. Tomorrow they would come up with a plan to support Kyle’s search for the remaining box while everyone else returned to their normal lives. Lola’s arrival with bottles of champagne and ample food was greeted with cheers. Before long, cheese and fruit platters filled the game room and beer and bubbly filled the glasses. Alex insisted on putting “dancing music” on the CD player, which to him meant old Motown and hits from the sixties.

Shelby and Lola were hitting Ping-Pong balls back and forth while Stan and Kyle were starting a game of darts when Alex cranked up the music to “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” Alex sang the title loudly as it began and the rest of the group laughed and sang along.

“Do you think that there’s no rivers or valleys and anything else big enough to keep these three boxes apart?” Kyle asked Stan.

“You’re letting yourself get too superstitious about this,” a tipsy Stan laughed. “Inanimate objects, no matter how old, don’t have a sense of being together.”

Kyle didn’t look convinced. “Whatever. I believe we are at the very least going to witness the reunification of these three ancient puzzle pieces, and we are going to witness it soon.”

I, and over a hundred thousand other people, love this simple and classy early video of Tammy Terrill and Marvin Gaye singing “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough. ” I bet you will enjoy it too.

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