The Friday evening after Karen’s memorial service, a gathering of a few of my dear friends and family members met in my backyard around the firepit to continue on in honor of Karen. The weather was unseasonably warm for November. The waning gibbous moon was beginning to rise in the east. Glasses of Karen-pour whiskey were raised to the “Tornado of Hospitality,” the term that was so aptly coined by our pastor that day. I could feel that this was going to be a night to remember. And indeed it was.
I made a discovery that night that had not dawned on me, but everyone around the circle made a similar comment about me.
- “Shinn gave me this song back in 1999…”
- “I still have the mixtape that Shinn made me when I was in a bad place…”
- “I remember the concert Shinn and I went to…”
- “I knew we were going to be friends when we started talking about Coldplay’s Parachutes.
Music is a way I chronicle my journey and my friendships. Ask me what I was listening to after my dad died. I’ll tell you that some of the songs on Moby’s Play were comforting to the point I thought they might have been divinely inspired. David Gray’s White Ladder was the music from 20 years ago as I started into a season of spiritual vagueness and wandering. The song, Up To The Roof by Blue Man Group helped push me toward opening bread&cup
When I was in high school, I got a flat tire on the way home from a ball game and had to pull over on the side of the highway. I was sick, throwing up and too weak to want to change it, I laid down on the bench seat of the F-100, turned the key backward to power up the radio and listened to 97.5 KMOD, an AOR station out of Tulsa, OK. Stations those days did Midnight Album Hour where they would play an entire record album without commercial interruptions. At 12am, the songs of Nine Tonight kept me company till I fell asleep and waited for daylight. To this day, when I hear Bob Seger sing, “here I am, on the road again…” I remember that night clearly.
For my next few posts, I want to share some songs that are important to me and explain why they hold such revered place in my heart. One guy around the fire described this connection as a way of putting a pin in a moment so it can be remembered. Songs mark my map. I’ll be curious to know what songs mark yours.