Runnin' Down A Dream

I pretty much live in a bubble these days, but after getting a Twitter notification on my phone about Tom Petty, I woke up early yesterday morning and read the article by Randy Lewis in the LA Times about Petty's death. Having recently read a biography of Johnny Cash by Robert Hilburn, the former music critic for the LA Times, I found the article especially poignant.

Today, as I drove from my parents' place out to pick up my son from preschool, I selected Tom Petty's "Full Moon Fever" on Spotify and when the song "Runnin' Down A Dream" came on, I turned up the volume. The song and the moment of a bright day in early October along the GW Parkway, past the airport, Gravelly Point, and paralleling the Potomac, came together; perfection.

I grew up with my dad playing The Traveling Wilburys on the stereo, and I owned a CD of "Full Moon Fever" that I either bought at the local Record and Tape Exchange, or picked up at Kemp Mill Records, or maybe even through Columbia House. I now realize that I know so many of Petty's lyrics simply because his songs were constantly on the radio when I was a teenager.  I never saw him live in concert, never watched his music videos (no cable - thanks Mom and Dad). 

As I watch my parents age and go through illness, it's music like Petty's that reminds me how grateful I am that they raised me to love all kinds of music. My parents are 64 and 65, and Tom Petty was only 66. This is the harsh reality of being human; people die. Those we love up close, sitting by hospital beds, and those we admire from afar, who seem to just follow one after another these days. And we often don't understand why or how. 

Today, as I left my parents, both weak and tired, too soon, too soon, I wanted to tell my dad that I loved him, but I didn't. I wanted to kiss my mother goodbye, but she was asleep, recovering from major surgery. So, Mom, Dad, I love you, whether or not you ever read THIS.

Rachel Wimermusic, death