(Me, living in Maywood California, when I attended Nimitz Jr. High, with Curly, our dog)
Today, I find myself sitting at a desk, in a hotel room, on the sixth floor looking down at a snow covered park, surrounded by wide boulevards and buildings that are over a hundred years old. I spent the day partaking of one of my favorite activities, walking city streets, stopping to chat with strangers, and entering interesting places. The howling winds and temperatures hovering well below freezing, decide dinner is take-out, in front of the hotel television, sitting on her sofa.
The news is of course on, one of my constant companions in such situations, I step away to find something to drink and come back and see the scrolling letters, on the bottom, of the screen, listing songs from The Eagles. I suddenly become quite upset. Why are they listing those songs? By now, we all know that words on the bottom of a news cast are rarely a good sign. I cannot imagine or rather I do not want to let myself imagine that something has happened to the band, then it must be one of the band members, right? Or perhaps it is an anonymous, at least to me, producer or sound engineer, that could be it I tell myself, for a second. I flip through a few stations, looking for news, but do not yet turn to the internet, telling myself that I will wait until I am done with supper; but the truth is I am at that point where I am calculating whose loss, in that band, would be less heartbreaking – no that is incalculable, like the well-worn cliché so many have said already, they were the soundtrack of my youth – especially before I truly fell in love, for the first time, and was introduced to Jackson Browne who took over the number one spot, at least for a good long while.
I remembering listening to The Eagles and knowing it was The Eagles, for the first time, when I was walking home from Nimitz Jr. High, in Maywood, California. Even as a kid it was the words which got to me; the song was “Best of My Love” I held a little white, transistor radio, from which their perfectly harmonized voices came forward, and I sang along, as if there were no one else walking those streets with me.
Dinner is finished, and I wash my hands; going over to the desk, which sits by the window, and turn on my computer. I am making my peace, or at least trying to, but seriously hoping it is not Glenn Frey that has passed away. Without him and Don Henley there are no Eagles, it cannot be one of them, maybe I theorize as my computer boots up, it is something else, something less fatal; but it is not and it is Glenn Frey, how can that be? He dies at 67 that cannot be right.
True shock sets in, and I go searching for more information, then to social media, wanting someone to grieve with – I do not find it, at least not among my “friends”. I finish writing my column, shower and go to bed, wishing I was in Los Angeles, sitting in a crowded room, filled with the music of my youth.
I wake up having dreamed about so many people that are gone or going, and the streets do not call me, instead I head to my computer, thankful for technology and all of you wonderful people who have posted to You Tube.
Social media finally kicks in, but it is stranger’s post I am reading. Someone says that what we are mourning, is our youth; I cannot disagree with him. I remember when concert or theater tickets seemed like the most important thing in the world; when I felt a true need to go to Europe, and walk the streets Hemingway had introduced to me, when I swooned when someone could recite Neruda, and never thought about tomorrow, unless I was getting on a plane or knew I would get to spend time with a true love. I am dreaming of California, I want to drive with the windows down, the radio blasting, and the sun shining.
I step away from my computer screen, to finish my tea, staring out of the hotel window, at the blowing snow and the swaddled people below, walking too fast to talk to one another, the Eagles still play, and I remember seeing them, in Massachusetts, during their Long Road Out of Eden tour, one of the most delightful surprises Kate ever gave me. It was an amazing concert, the best live performance I have seen. There was a little self-deprecation, I think Frey made a comment about it being the nursing home tour, we had all gotten a little older, okay, but we still loved the music and yes the memories, but it was not just the memories – they were still making music and writing new music – such talent and passion. Yes, I am missing my youth, but I am also just plain sad that we all lost this brilliant musician who managed to, at the very least, co-write, a portion of the sound track, of my life and so many others. Sixty-seven is too young.
Suddenly, YouTube starts playing Sweet Home Alabama, by Lynrd Skynrd, what happened to my Eagles? YouTube has interrupted my moment of grief, but all alone, with grey, overcast skies, still in my long, white nightgown, I find myself dancing to another remarkable piece of music, for a second, I do remember the plane crash in 1977, which took the lives of three of their band members, but I do not want to think about that, I would rather dance. That Is All For Now