Thursday night Cathy and I got to take Mother to see Willie Nelson at Robinson Auditorium. Mother was bouncing and clapping from beginning to end, proving that 78 isn’t too old for your first real concert experience.
(Daddy was a musician, so she’s been to plenty of live-music events, but this was her first real sold-out concert.)
We had a fabulous time. Willie at 80 and his sister, Bobbie, at 82, prove you’re never too old, period.
And somehow, maybe because of the time of year, the whole thing reminded me of how some people and some things are always on my mind, whether I’m conscious of it or not.
Like my step-dad, Bill. Why the hell isn’t he here? Looking back through pictures from the last year, it seems like some colossal mistake. Mother and Bill went to Texas for Thanksgiving last year, then Christmas the ice storm hit and we had to leave before we got photos at their house.
Then, poof, he was gone.
I’ve been wearing a sweater I got new last year that I think I have to get rid of. Wore it too many times to the hospital, and Bill liked it and stroked my arms when I wore it.
Maybe I’ll keep it and not wear it. Or maybe I’ll feel better about it tomorrow.
And Daddy, Daddy – it never gets better, only gentler. People who know me know how I hate to cry (though if you saw me at movies, you’d think I enjoy it). For me, it’s not a release, it’s awful. But I still burst into tears out of the blue 32 years later. Just happened again the other day.
I keep thinking that he and Willie Nelson would be the same age and wondering what my handsome father would be like at 80. Would he be happy? Still playing the piano? A grumpy old man?
Useless to wonder – he’s frozen in youth, gone at 48.
And Aunt Barbara, Daddy’s older sister – how can you be gone?
I even still cry about Toby. She’s been gone since 2009 but I called Zuzu “Toby” for the first time the other day. The similarities are strong and grow stronger personality-wise. And they never even met.
But this isn’t meant to be a downer. Just a waker-upper, maybe. Those people who’re always on your mind won’t always be around. So take advantage while you can.
Just in case I forget to say it, let me end with another song on my mind, “Everybody I Love You.”