I Wish You Love

By Mickey Dunaway | Reprinted with Permission by Currents Magazine | Cornelius, NC

February is best known for Valentine’s Day, but let’s face it, Valentine’s Day is mainly for ad agencies whose goal is to convince us that unless we splurge on things from roses to chocolates to dinner, the price of a house payment, our lover will be our lover no longer—or at the least will be highly annoyed—and for a long time!

Valentine’s Day was the most fun in elementary school when we exchanged those little candy hearts and cards. My wife and I agreed long ago that Valentine’s was one fake holiday we would not celebrate. Therefore, this month’s column will be about love, but not the Valentine’s Day phony variety. 

Family. My dear wife is the kindest person I have ever known, and it is through our children and grandchildren—our most important legacy—that I continue to learn about the depth that love can reach. 

As I have reached the autumn of my life, I have learned to love my extended family. My parents, who have passed on, taught my brother and me that love is not about possessions and that being rich or poor is mostly a state of mind. These days I have a deep love for my extended family—the oldest who remain with us and my ancestors of years gone by. I have found an abundance of heroes there.


The Almighty. I have not been a churchperson for a long time, a Methodist, who for my first 23 years was a Southern Baptist. 

I am spiritual, but I still subscribe to the Big Bang Theory. However, I cannot logically believe that our Universe came from nothing. For me, before the Big Bang, there was a spirit. And that spirit was the entity, the Almighty, who spoke the Universe into existence.


Hawai’i. If you come to our home, you are likely to hear Hawaiian music playing throughout. In the cacophony of our world, Hawaiian music soothes chaos. If you travel to the Islands more than once, you will likely feel a presence you cannot easily explain—a feeling in your soul. It is not the relaxation that 80 degrees any time of year brings. It is not the incredible landscape of green mountains and cerulean oceans in equal measure. When I encountered the Hawaiian people for a longer time, I felt an unexplainable essence. Peaceful. Generous. Loving. Graceful. Forgiving of a country—our country—that erased an island culture of more than 1600 years. Yet they treat us with a grace that is undoubtedly divine.


Teachers and Students were the substance of my professional life for 47 years, and I love them both in equal measure. Whether kindergarten teachers who take little blobs of protoplasm and teach them to read in one year, middle school teachers who teach the most difficult hormone-overloaded teens, to high school teachers who take 15-year-old goofballs and turn them into college-ready seniors, to the most loving and indispensable of all—the teachers of special needs children. I love them all.

Writers. I have my favorite writers like Pat Conroy, James Lee Burke, and Robert Parker, but I don’t love the writers. My love is their words that transport me to new worlds. James Lee Burke and Pat Conroy are connoisseurs of the English language, and it is a pleasure to read their books simply for the beauty of their composition. Yet there are Robert Parker and John D. MacDonald, whose prose is beautifully sparse, but their use of only bare and necessary language tells a story with the same art as Conroy or Burke.

Music. Until next month, consider the lyrics from one of the great love songs, I Will Always Love You, written and recorded by Dolly Parton on RCA Victor in 1974. When she ended the partnership, she wrote it for her mentor and partner and mentor of seven years, Porter Wagoner.

If I should stay
Well, I would only be in your way
And so I’ll go, and yet I know
I’ll think of you each step of the way

And I will always love you
I will always love you

Bitter-sweet memories
That’s all I’m taking with me
Good-bye, please don’t cry
’Cause we both know that I’m not
What you need

But I will always love you
I will always love you

And I hope life, will treat you kind
And I hope that you have all
That you ever dreamed of
Oh, I do wish you joy
And I wish you happiness
But above all this
I wish you love
I love you
I will always love you

I, I will always, always love you
I will always love you
I will always love you
I will always love you

I Will Always Love You lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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