Friday has finally come, and as much as I always look forward to the weekend, I have to admit, this Friday has been a little disappointing. It’s one of those days when you wake up in the morning with a set plan of how things are going to go, and you kind of count on that. Then, as the day progresses, one thing changes, then another thing, and pretty soon you start getting down about it.
I don’t know about you (you being…well, you), but music is an essential part of my life. It’s my barometer. My ipod is always on shuffle, and it has an uncanny way of sensing my mood, and delivering tunes accordingly.
I also don’t know about you (again, you), but when I start getting a little down, I immediately think about all the little things that are wrong with my life…kind of like, “I just totaled my car…my kids hate me…and on top of that, we don’t have chocolate ice cream at home!” One thing just builds on another.
And so it was today. It wasn’t like I had a lot of solid plans, but there were a couple of things I was looking forward to. For one thing, I belong to a group at work that used to get together every two weeks to go somewhere for pizza. It’s called the Pizza Steering Committee, and I was asked to join last year. It’s a lot of fun because a) I love pizza and b) I really like the other members of the group. They’re not people that I hang around with all the time, and we spend the entire lunch hour laughing and joking. Well, due to everyone’s busy schedules, we haven’t been getting together as much. So I was really looking forward to getting together with everyone today. First thing this morning, people started dropping out until there were just three of us left, and we decided to just reschedule. Side note: lunch is a real social thing for me because I’m a social person, and I don’t get out much to see other people, so I use my lunch hours to hang out with friends.
The second thing that happened…well, ok, I do get out every once in awhile. For the record, I don’t consider a band gig getting out. Sure, I’m out of the house, but I’m working pretty much the whole time I’m performing, and even if I do have friends there, I only get to talk to them for a little bit while we’re on break. So anyway, I don’t have a gig this weekend, but three of my friends do. And due to my hectic playing schedule, I don’t get to see my other musician friends perform much. Tonight, since I can see THREE in one night, I told my wife that I was going out. If you’re like most people, going out by yourself is ok, but not as much fun as having a friend or two along. I’m ok with hanging out by myself, because I usually run into people I know. But tonight a friend of mine was going to come along, and you guessed it…cancelled. I totally understand, but all of a sudden, I just felt…I don’t know…kind of lonely I guess.
Instead of getting together with friends at lunch, I ran errands, feeling more and more depressed. Then “Wishing On The Moon” from Dan Fogelberg’s “Phoenix” album came on my ipod…and I heard myself say out loud, “Christ, even Dan Fogelberg’s dead!”
You gotta understand, for someone growing up in Central Illinois, Dan Fogelberg was an institution. WWCT, 106FM was the station my friends and I listened to in high school, and when they would do their Friday night Poorman’s Concert (they featured one artist from 8-10pm) we would make sure we had nothing planned for the Poorman’s that featured Dan, because we would listen to the WHOLE thing. We looked forward to new Fogelberg albums like 60’s kids used to look forward to new Beatles albums. He was a great singer, a great musician, a great songwriter, and we related to him because he came from PEORIA. He was our spokesperson. I can remember being in college and buying the Phoenix album the day it came out. I took it back to the dorm, played it a couple of times, and immediately loved every song on it.
In 2004, Dan announced that he had been diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer. He put a personal announcement on his website explaining what he was going through. When I didn’t see many updates, I could kind of sense that things weren’t going well. He died in 2007. It was like losing an old friend. I had only met him once, but saw him perform numerous times, and had vivid memories of each concert. He was such an outstanding performer. Every concert was a treat.
So today, my lunch plans got cancelled, my evening plans got altered…and a song reminded me that Dan Fogelberg was no longer of this earth. I think that, even though it came as kind of an afterthought, it probably affected me the most. It made me miss my old friend, and miss the simplicity of my youth. I would be lying if I said that it didn’t affect my mood for the rest of the day, even though it was Friday, and Friday’s are supposed to be happy times.
I guess, as Dan once said, “Love when you can, cry when you have to…be who you must, it’s a part of the plan.” Sigh.