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After the Peoria native released the single in late , within months it rose to No. Since then, the song's Christmas Eve setting has made it a yuletide radio staple. Meantime, in recent years, the tune has enjoyed more attention, in large part because of the unveiling of the mystery behind the bittersweet run-in between two old flames. To make Irish coffees, Fogelberg went out to buy whipping cream. Meantime, his high school sweetheart, Jill Anderson, also had returned home to visit relatives. At the request of her mother, she headed out to buy eggnog. With almost no stores open that night, both happened to arrive around the same time at a convenience store. Sweethearts from the Woodruff High School Class of , the two would end up going their own ways a few years later — he out West to start a music career, she to Chicago to teach schoolchildren.
It was also included on his album The Innocent Age. The song is an autobiographical narrative ballad told in the first person and tells the story of two long-ago romantic interests meeting by chance in a grocery store on Christmas Eve. It is commonly played on radio stations during the Christmas season in Canada and the United States. The narrator is reunited with an old flame at a grocery store on a snowy Christmas Eve. She does not recognize him at first glance and when the two reach to embrace, she drops her purse causing them to laugh until they cry. They eventually decide to have a drink somewhere, but are unable to find an open bar. Settling on a six-pack purchased at a liquor store, they proceed to drink it in her car while they talk.
Initially I thought he would join the church and life would get back on the only track I knew. We are not judged only for what we do but why we do it. Then we can at least cuddle and go to bed together.