Sunday, September 12, 2004

a year later

My parents came down yesterday evening. They left this afternoon to drive back home. Seven hours both ways for a few hours' visit. Mom had to be back to sing tomorrow morning. Now you see where I get it, when you know its time to go do something, you go do it. You can't sit around and worry that you don't have time, or that you have to hurry back.
They brought all kinds of goodies with them, dad brought me a table saw, and mom brought a box of memorabilia, and lots of treasures from the house. Last night after dinner, we were in the living room talking about stuff from years ago and I was thinking about that Johnny Cash concert that set me upon my course. I asked mom if there was any extant evidence from that concert. "Yeah," she said, "ticket stubs. They're in that box of stuff I brought." We sat in the middle of the floor and looked at everything in the box together, remembering, until we found the stubs and I got bogged down on them. Mom said that she guessed that's all she needed to bring. Of course not, but this was a very important one to me.
Mom and I have always seemed to have some sort of synchronicity thing going, or at least she has with me. When I was in college, she would call at the exact times she needed to call. I know she was praying at times when she didn't call. I broke my collar bone in a football game and she called within hours because "she felt like there might be something wrong."
She also has a knack for unknowingly preparing for things that will be needed in the future. With the ticket stubs in hand, I had to blog some more about the old Johnny Cash experience, and thought I'd link you back to past blurbs I've made. So I looked them up and realized that one was a comment link to Sungrown Maduro's Johnny Cash tribute, that has long since disappeared from the comments. Then I remembered that mom had printed that comment and placed it in a picture she had given me of the very event that I talked about in the comment. So I opened the back of the frame and pulled out the printout. I've posted it here for you to read. You'll notice from the stubs, that in that post, my memory was off by a year.
So anyway, magical musical moments, tend to bring back older magical musical moments, and so I'm sitting here exactly a year to the hour after Johnny Cash died, listening to "the man comes around", and remembering everything associated with it. I remember the mind snapshot of the concert. I remember listening to Live at San Quentin and At Folsom Prison on my grandmother's console stereo. I used to worry about the folks he sang about. I still do.
When my kids were very little they responded to Tracy Chapman's music. I was baffled by that. They had no reference for anything she was singing about. One day Allison and I were talking about it and we realized that even in innocence, they responded to her passion and the reality in her music. That is what I was drawn to in Johnny Cash at such a young age. Advocates for the everyman. Artist's who get out of themselves and feel for those around them. Who are real enough to know the experience and speak sympathy and encouragement.
So thank you for hanging with me to the end of this long rambling free association down memory lane on the one year anniversary of Johnny Cash's deliverance. May his influence live on in the music of folks like Tracy Chapman, Lauryn Hill, John Prine, John Mellencamp, Bruce Springsteen, … and me(?)