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Thu, April 25

Middle-aged Musings: Death, rock 'n' roll and Powerball

It's been a roller coaster kind of week.

We all had a chance to be filthy rich and we lost Ziggy Stardust and Professor Snape.

I was having lunch with friends when we brought up David Bowie's passing after we discussed our Powerball-winning plans.

I mentioned to them that my daughter called me crying when she heard about Bowie. We raised our children on an eclectic mix of music, heavy (very heavy) on metal, and I was surprised she was so upset about him. She was also crushed when Lemmy of Motorhead died recently (as was I).

It started me thinking about my mom when she heard Elvis was dead. I can't remember my address half the time, but for some reason, I remember that day clearly.

We were having dinner in the kitchen and the TV was playing in the living room. Mom and Dad were talking and I was half listening to the newscast. I heard "the King is dead" and I ran to the TV while my father loudly told me to sit back down and finish my food. I was a history buff and I thought a real king had died and I wanted to be able to tell my history teacher all the details the next morning. (Yeah, I was THAT kid.)

Imagine my surprise when the swivel-hipped "king" was being shown on the screen, along with footage of weepy women. I trudged back out to the dinner table and said "it was just that Elvis guy who died."

My mom and dad nearly tripped over each other trying to get to the living room. I sat there staring at my mashed potatoes thinking, why don't they have to finish their food?

Then mom started crying. And crying. I ended up clearing the table, putting away the leftovers and doing the dishes because dad said mom needed to be alone.

Then the days (and days) of Elvis album playing began. I can still sing every dang song by heart! I also remember that enormous stereo - fake wood grain and almost six-feet long with ornate coverings on the speakers.

Oh, and of course, the three main TV channels we got on our antenna played all of his movies, which my mom watched devotedly. I guess it was an improvement over her previously incessant playing of her collection of Oak Ridge Boys and Cher albums. And yeah, I can also sing those songs. Sigh.

The only "celebrity" I've cried about dying so far in my life is an odd one. I'm not sure why I reacted the way I did. I still get sad thinking about him.

Steve Irwin. The Crocodile Hunter. He kept all of us entertained - hubby, kids ... everyone. I remember being sort of numb when we heard he was dead. It didn't seem real. My little girl sat on the couch beside me bawling when the announcement came on TV. My son ran down the hall and slammed his bedroom door and stayed in there a long time.

I don't know why celebrities get into our heads and our hearts, but they sure do. After I wept for Steve myself, I remember feeling bad for making fun of my mom and her personal loss of Elvis.

I guess we all need dreams and heroes: that big lottery win, a film star who looks deep into our eyes from the screen, a music legend who sings only to us.

Dreaming is good.

Until next week, Robin

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