Jackson and I were driving to Montclair this morning. Jackson had his agenda - apple cider doughnuts from the apple stand, sausage samples on toothpicks (a kid's gotta eat), and soccer with his dad whose flight was cancelled last night and got up in Columbus, Ohio at 4:30 to fly home for this Saturday morning adventure.
We are listening to a recording of Bruce Springsteen from the night before at the Apollo Theater in Harlem. "My City of Ruins" comes on - one of my favorite modern gospel songs. Heard it in Asbury Park the first time Bruce ever sang it, when that town was falling apart. Heard it at the first Jazz Fest in New Orleans after Katrina. Heard it after 9.11. Now, hearing it again on this sunny, cold Saturday morning driving to Montclair. Towards the end, Bruce yells out, "Roll Call!" - and introduces the band. This is the first E-Street band show since his sax player of 40 plus years, Clarence Clemons died early last summer. When Bruce gets to Clemon's usual spot to be introduced - Bruce yells out, "Are we missing anybody?" He repeats that line over and over enough to bring tears, and draw the audience into a frenzy. He then resolves his question so elegantly, "If you are here, and we are here, then THEY are here." He repeats that, too - opening the door wide open to the future.
I tell Jackson, "We miss Clarence." Jackson asks where he is. We have been talking alittle more about death. It comes up. Sometimes I bring up how much we miss my Dad and Stephie's Dad. Sometimes Jackson wants to know where someone is. Jackson asks, "Is Clarence going to come back and play?" Just drop the needle and play.
I always feel alittle embarrassed talking about Bruce. I am not that into the music - although I listen to it once in awhile and go to the shows. But I am really into the man. Is there any better advice in dealing with losing someone you love than, "If we are here, then they are here."
Here is the mp3 of City of Ruins - "Are We Missing Anybody" comes at 7:12
The video clip is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SH8vKjxX1Uw
This post is for our Uncle John in Indiana who is 92 and has his heart talking to him tonight. It is for Jack Lange and Steve Cook. For Natalie & Louis Meyers and Myron Markel. For all the people we miss so much who live inside of us. That is my Dad up top. There is a gold watch in my closet that is engraved with my birthdate and the inscription, "Hi Dad." My mother gave it to my father on the day I was born.