Last night Eileen and I were listening to Garth Brooks sing while we were in bed. Well, Eileen was really listening, and I was dozing until he sang American Pie.
That song brought me back to February 3rd. That’s my daughter Jeannine’s birthday and every year, I post the same blog, “A Long Long Time Ago.”
It recounts the Day The Music Died that Don McLean wrote about in American Pie. It was the day, February 3, 1959, when Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and The Big Bopper died in a plane crash.
In my blog, I fast forward to the same day in 1984 when Jeannine was born.
I thought about her birthday this year when the Coronavirus was something that didn’t concern us when, of course, it should have.
But, getting back to Garth Brooks.
Listening to him sing so beautifully and joyfully, I thought back to a summer day in 1997 when I was working for the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Due to the Long Island Rail Road, I was taking the west side subway up to 96th Street and walking to Mount Sinai on Fifth Avenue through Central Park.
Garth Brooks was scheduled to give a concert in the park, and a stage was being erected right near the Fifth Avenue entrance on 96th Street. A day or two before the event, hundreds of people were starting to camp out. It was like a country version of Woodstock.
I struck up a conversation with a few of the people and asked what all the excitement was. They evidently loved Garth Brooks and traveled from all points of the midwest and west to see him in NYC. They got me excited too, and when the concert was aired on television, I enjoyed watching it as did Eileen.
I am writing about this now because, in the very area of Central Park where Garth Brooks regaled us with People In High Places back in 1997, a make-shift hospital has been erected to tend to the overflow of patients from Mt. Sinai.
Nobody in high places ever predicted that would be required.
But listening to Garth last night instead of joy, I felt intense anger and was blogging in my head about all that had not been done to protect my city ( I may live in Florida, but I remain a New Yorker) and the country.
But today is Palm Sunday, and my roots have revealed another emotion.
Peace is required, and love is demanded to get through these days.
It’s not enough to pray in silence, we are required to live our prayers.
As Peter Pan instructed the Darling children to get them to fly, we must think happy thoughts.
Without happiness and joy in our hearts, we will be stuck in the mud of despair.
Listen to Garth Brooks today (and possibly tonight in a country virtual concert) and smile.