(this entry is a repost from Monday – sans links)
There are a lot of music fans today recalling and recounting the details of their lives when they learned that John Lennon had been murdered. I was at the dentist.
December 8, 1980 was a Monday and a lot of folks had the tragic news broken to them by announcer Howard Cosell on Monday Night Football. For whatever reason, I’d already gone to bed before the announcement.
I slept in the next morning, so I didn’t catch the footage of throngs of mourning fans outside The Dakota on Good Morning America (to which the television would have been tuned as I ate breakfast before school). My mother didn’t mention it as she drove me to my dental appointment.
I learned of the death of one of the most iconic figures of the 20th Century from the radio station playing as I got my teeth cleaned. As strange as it seems to admit, as I was only beginning to care about music, the news had little effect on me. I was much more shocked and upset by the shooting of Lyman Bostock, an up-and-coming centerfielder for the California Angels, several years earlier.
It was also my thirteenth birthday.
As my interest in baseball waned and my interest in music became more obsessive, John Lennon’s death took on increasing significance.
On December 8, 1990, the world was headed to war in the Persian Gulf. MTV had been heavily playing the video for an update of Lennon’s Give Peace A Chance performed The Peach Choir, an array of artists including Iggy Pop, Duff from Guns ‘N Roses, Wendy & Lisa, LL Cool J, Lou Reed, and numerous others.
That night, walking home from the record store where I worked, I switched my Walkman from the cassette to which I was listening and channel surfed radio stations. There were big, fluffy clouds in the night sky, illuminated by the bright moon which poked through. It was one of those skies that you know to recognize in the Midwest as heavy with snow.
On the radio, the DJ on the station to which I had tuned was talking about it having been a decade since John Lennon’s death and playing songs of the late Beatle. It was the first time that I truly felt saddened by Lennon’s absence, now knowing more about the man and his music. He was now a friend.
I arrived back at my apartment and, as always in those days, the moment the door was unlocked, it was time to take my dog out. Whether coming from work or class (or both), it was always one of the best parts of the day.
Outside I walked about with Coke (it was a nickname that’s in no way affiliated with the drink or narcotics). Part German shepherd, part Golden Retriever, Coke loved water and he loved snow. Suddenly, massive flakes, the size of a small child’s fist, began to flutter from the night sky. Both of us looked up. Coke spent the next hour diving into snow banks and trying to dodge and/or catch the snow balls I lobbed his way.
I think that evening is my favorite memory of Coke simply because that we spent it playing in the snow.
I truly miss him.