Yesterday was a day of many sadnesses. What can one possibly say about a day that starts with news of the worst mass shooting in U.S. history and ends with the news of the death of Tom Petty?
I don't have much left to say about this kind of gun violence. What can bring any kind of comfort? Do I believe that U.S. hearts can change? If the massacre of children in an elementary school several years ago can't make us change our approach, what makes us think this massacre will?
Let me instead think about Tom Petty. I found myself surprised to be so affected by his death--after all, I don't own any of his music. Wait, yes I do--I have the two Travelling Wilburys CDs. In fact, for a long time during his early years on the national scene, I might have said I didn't like him.
My earliest memory of him is a high school youth group gathering. We were at someone's house to bake cookies for shut-ins, and someone had his cassette tape, Damn the Torpedoes. We might have listened to a song or two amidst the Christmas music. I wasn't impressed. But then again, my other memory of that night is using a cookie cutter as an ice scraper, since snow had fallen while we were baking.
Through the years, I'd hear a song here and there that made me consider buying a whole collection, whether on vinyl or CD. But then I would forget and then another CD would come, and I just never caught up.
Along the way, I was impressed with both his music and his lyrics. I was impressed with how he looked out for his various band members. His dedication to his art was important too.
I realize that I can expect more of these deaths in the coming years--musicians who were important to me in varying degrees. Let me use these passings as a reminder to tend to my own artistic gardens.
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