If one stops learning, they stop living. I think I learned some things in 2017 -- they may not be profound things, but they are things.
It's difficult to sum up a year, three hundred and sixty-five days, because I frankly would have to think hard to remember what I did yesterday. Time runs together like a gushing stream.
Nevertheless, in no particular order, things I learned:
Don't trust preconceived notions.
Two notable passings touched me this year more than I ever thought they would.
When I was thirteen and beginning to formulate my country music opinions, burying myself in Waylon Jennings and Merle Haggard vinyl, I hated (hated!) Glen Campbell. Glen Campbell wasn't rock 'n roll and he sure wasn't country. I didn't know what he was exactly -- kind of Frank Sinatra Lite. Everything any self-respecting music lover hated. Synthesizers that sounded like drunken birds. Icky, simpering melodies (thanks, Jimmy Webb). And that's all the stupid FM disc jockey ever played -- that and an early dysmorphic Willie Nelson. The radio station apparently possessed only two LP's, and the radio spinner made the most of them. No wonder AM radio ruled.
I'm talking about stuff like this:
But a funny thing happened on my trip through the decades: I learned to love Glen Campbell. Oh, it was gradual. I thought "Rhinestone Cowboy" ranked right up there with "Rose Garden" for its dullness and repetition. I did like "Southern Nights", however. It had a bit more verve than I'd come to expect from Glen. In his Tanya Tucker days, he added some nice touches to her recordings, and, silly as it seemed, I found that I craved that voice.
As happens when we get older and wiser, Glen settled into himself. Sadly, it was Alzheimer's that brought it about. When I learned that Glen had Alzheimer's, a lump caught in my throat. My dad had Alzheimer's, and it's so very sad...and lonely. But that knowledge drew me to Glen, after fifty-odd years of either hating him or ignoring him.
I'm happy that in 2017 I re-found Glen Campbell.
The seventies, for me, were kind of a lost decade, musically. I didn't know which way to turn. I was buying Larry Gatlin albums and meanwhile hearing the Bee Gees singing about staying alive. And The Captain and Tennille. Frankly, the seventies sucked in myriad ways.
In the mire, I completely missed Tom Petty. I honestly had no idea who Tom Petty was until my little sister began raving about an album called, "Full Moon Fever".
Let me tell you about Tom Petty -- he was AWESOME.
I watched a documentary about him on Netflix, and I think I am in love.
What a decent, principled man he was.
And I completely missed him!
No more. Maybe I'm a bit late, but I will forevermore celebrate everything Tom Petty.
What was life like before Netflix?
I don't like commercials and I don't like, "stayed tuned for scenes from next week's episode". In the prehistoric days, we had to put up with both those things. In the twenty-first century, TV has evolved. And thankfully, because I would have completely missed some awesome TV if it wasn't for Netflix.
What did I miss?
Number one, the best television show of all time:
And exclusive to Netflix:
Thanks to DVD, I found:
So, yes, my life consists of TV, essentially.
I did learn a few other lessons in 2017, actually.
If you live long enough, the sadness subsides, and you remember the happy.
My mom and dad have been gone for a long while -- since 2001, to be exact. For a long time I couldn't think about them without feeling melancholy, wistful, regretful. If you are a reader of my blog, you know that throughout my life my relationship with my mother was fraught. If we'd met as strangers, we wouldn't have become friends...although that's possibly untrue. Maybe we would have accepted each other as friends do. As it was, we both expected more of each other than either of us was able to give. It wasn't until late in her life that I recognized the fine qualities she possessed -- hard-fought acceptance, forgiveness. In some ways we were too much alike, but those likenesses were overshadowed by irreconcilable, fundamental differences. I've never once dreamed about my mom, which is puzzling.
I last dreamed about my dad maybe seven years ago. We were in a hotel ballroom where some kind of happy gathering was about to commence. I stood among a group of strangers waiting for Dad to come in. He did, attired in his de rigueur short-sleeved white dress shirt, but as he passed me, he didn't stop. He didn't even acknowledge my presence as he glad-handed all his friends. I don't know what the dream meant. Maybe that I craved the attention he once lavished on me, as a child, before life became too crazy and he curled up in a woozy world all his own. I don't hold it against him. I don't hold anything against Mom or Dad...anymore.
I've dedicated my blog this year to remembrances of times past and how they intersect with music. It's helped me work through...whatever I apparently need to work through.
Never say never.
I had a tradition of creating a video at the end of every year, ever since 2006, for the Red River song, "Ring In The Old". I stopped a couple of years ago because I had lost interest and had moved on.
This year, I felt nostalgic and on the spur of the moment, decided to do it once again.
Happy 2018 to you.
This is the best I could do.
And that's a-okay with me.