Yesterday, Saxon and I were listening to a Jim Croce album. Yep, you heard that right. An album. A vinyl album.
Anyway, Saxon looked at me and said, “Why did rock stars and musicians stop dying in airplane crashes?”
“What d’ya mean?” I asked.
“You know, musicians used to die in plane crashes a lot. Lynyrd Skynyrd, Buddy Holly, Otis Redding, Patsy Cline, Jim Croce, Ricky Nelson—
“Wait! Back up. What? Jim Croce?”
“Yeah, he died in a plane crash. He was maybe 30,” Saxon said.
I buried my face in my hands. I began to weep. Openly weep.
“You okay?” Saxon asked.
I shook my head and sobbed. “No, I am not okay. I didn’t know Jim Croce was dead.”
Saxon said, “He died like forty years ago. You’re crying now?”
“I didn’t know he was dead!” I blubbered. “To me, it’s like it just happened!”
I continued to sob while we listened to the album. I cried all the way through Operator, Bad, Bad, Leroy Brown, and Time in a Bottle.
Now I understand how my daughter felt when she was younger. At the tender age of five, Emma developed a crush on Elvis. She loved Elvis so much it was all she would talk about. She had posters of Elvis, Elvis bobble heads, Elvis CDs, she even dressed up for Halloween as Elvis. She loved him so much that I was beginning to worry that maybe she was a reincarnation of a teenager from the 1950s or something.
Her Elvis stage was something I hoped she’d grow out of in time. Until that day, I decided to humor her. It was easier.
One day we went to the library and Emma found a book on Elvis. It had a lot of photos in it and she went nuts over it. So, I checked it out. She couldn’t wait to get home and read all about Elvis.
Later that night, I heard screaming coming from her bedroom. I ran into the room. “What’s happening? Are you hurt? What’s wrong?”
Emma was splayed across her bed, ugly crying, big time. She yelled, “Elvis is dead!” She threw the library book at me.
“Yes, honey. He died a long time ago. Like 1978 or something,” I said, sitting on the bed beside her.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” she asked through tears.
“I thought you knew. I thought everyone knew that.”
“Well, I didn’t!”
Yep, now I know how Emma felt when she found out about Elvis. I couldn’t believe I had spent the past forty years thinking I was living in a world with Jim Croce in it. The world that was once warm and cuddly, now seemed cold and barren.
Saxon handed me a tissue and sat down on the couch beside me. “Honey?” she says.
“I have some more bad news.”
She hands me the whole box of tissues and says, “It’s about John Denver.”
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