To Pete Yorn on This, My Wedding Day

Dear Pete Yorn,

I’m getting married today. This is thanks in part to you and a song you wrote twelve years ago.

We’ve met only once, a passing greeting after one of your shows, the kind of exchange you must have many times a day with many strangers.

But you are a musician. And music has consequences.

You made a song called For Nancy (‘Cos It Already Is). It’s pretty great.

You cannot be making songs with dynamic range and driving riffs and walls of sound and not expect them to Velcro all over the life experiences of strangers.

My particular connection comes from 2008, moving cross-country to Los Angeles in a Jeep Cherokee so packed it rode low in the back.

Jeep Cherokee stuffed

Note the wheel wells

On a pile of debris on the passenger side, Jake the dog perched with a concerned expression.

Jake dog concerned Jeep Cherokee

Jake has concerns.

The Jeep A/C would freeze up after twenty minutes of use — then you had to thaw it for forty. The stereo was busted. I brought a boombox and an iPod.

I was super broke and newly single.

I had no job prospects.

I’d just turned thirty.

Thirty is too old to be moving cross-country in a Jeep, you might say.

I thought so, too.

For various reasons, for about an hour across Arizona, I listened to sad songs on repeat and cried.

Arizona Highway 40

HWY 40 through the Instagram filter of salty contact lenses

Somewhere around Flagstaff I let the next song play.

It was yours.

Sure, the lyrics to “For Nancy” aren’t all sunshine. But tell that to the hook:

“Convince yourself that everything is all right. ‘Cos it already is.”

Damn if it didn’t improve my memory.

I remembered Sam and Anne, who showed up with no warning, no provocation, to help me pack.

Jeep Cherokee trunk packed

Without their help this would not have been possible

I remembered Carol and Joe, who set me up with the summer job that meant I had money to live off of for a couple of months.

I remembered Drew, who offered me a dog-friendly place to stay for a few days.

I remembered Sara, who gave me the confidence to move and did all the legwork to line up an apartment for us.

I remembered Dad, who gave me a little moving money even though I was THIRTY.

I remembered Jenn, who held my confidences.

I remembered Jake, who is the kind of dog that tolerates cross-country road trips.

I remembered Brandi, who showed up at 7:00 AM on my last morning to help me set up the yard sale that gathered the gas money I wouldn’t have had otherwise. Brandi, who hosted me and Jake the dog on our last night in North Carolina, braving excessive dog hair to provide me with a comfy couch, tasty stew and Duplin wine.

It’s easier to face the yawning abyss of uncertainty with an improved memory and a good song.

I convinced myself everything would be all right.

Was it?

In LA there turned out to be a kind circle of friends to welcome me with Famima!! and D&D.

In LA there turned out to be a job — the best job I’ve ever had. Every day I expect HR to pop in and tell me there’s been a mistake.

In LA all my debts are paid off. I have a car with a working stereo AND A/C.

In LA Jake the dog is still healthy, occasionally concerned, and much more silver around the lips and elbows.

Jake dog back seat

And he has much more room to sit

Almost three years ago, an unbelievably handsome man took me out to dinner. One day at a time, he proved himself to be the finest man I ever met. He must have liked me, too, because last year he asked me to marry him.

Today dozens of people who care about us have made their own cross-town, cross-state and cross-country trips to be part of our wedding day.

I would say today is the happiest day of my life, but honestly there have been hundreds of them.

The more I face fear, the better my life gets. And I’m so grateful I get to share it with this man.

I can’t wait to see what the big uncertain future has for us.

I still get scared sometimes. But then the hook comes in.

“Convince yourself that everything is all right. ‘Cos it already is.”

Thank you, Pete Yorn.

If you play “For Nancy” at a show and there’s a lady in a red dress dancing like a maniac… that’s me.

Many thanks,
Tory

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