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  Random scratch marks in the digital dirt...

September 11, 2003

Enjoy Every Sandwich

For my birthday earlier this week I treated myself to a new CD, The Wind by Warren Zevon. As some of you will know, Warren was diagnosed with mesothelioma, an inoperable lung cancer last year and given three months to live by his doctors. Sadly, he died last Sunday but he exceeded his doctor's prognosis by 9 months, saw the birth of his twin grandchildren, and finished his last album. What a treasure it is! A loving goodbye to his family and friends.

He was a quirky, sardonic songwriter best known for his one major hit, Werewolves of London back in the 70s. He finally found the fame that had eluded him all his career in the closing months of his life while completing his final project, his first number one album.

I've been listening to it for a couple of days now trying to discern what he's saying, all the while reading the tributes that are published just about everywhere, and watching old clips of him and one of his biggest fans, David Letterman.

Not long after his disease was diagnosed, Letterman had him on his show -- his only guest that night. One exchange between the two stuck in my mind:

LETTERMAN: From your perspective now, do you know something about life and death that maybe I don't know now?

ZEVON: Not unless I know how much you're supposed to enjoy every sandwich, you know.

Isn't that a simple, elegant statement of how life is supposed to lived?

I would recommend the CD to anybody, there's so much good stuff on it especially once you realize what he was facing when he recorded it. His vocals aren't as strong as they used to be, but painkillers will do that to you, I suppose. And he's backed up by a Who's Who of talent: Dwight Yoakam, Don Henley, Bruce Springsteen, Jackson Browne, Tommy Shaw, Tom Petty and Emmylou Harris.

I guess my favorite track is the last, Keep Me In Your Heart.

Keep Me In Your Heart
Warren Zevon & Jorge Calderón

Shadows are falling and I'm running out of breath
Keep me in your heart for awhile

If I leave you it doesn't mean I love you any less
Keep me in your heart for awhile

When you get up in the morning and you see that crazy sun
Keep me in your heart for awhile

There's a train leaving nightly called when all is said and done
Keep me in your heart for awhile

Keep me in your heart for awhile

Keep me in your heart for awhile

Sometimes when you're doing simple things around the house
Maybe you'll think of me and smile

You know I'm tied to you like the buttons on your blouse
Keep me in your heart for awhile

Hold me in your thoughts, take me to your dreams
Touch me as I fall into view
When the winter comes keep the fires lit
And I will be right next to you

Engine driver's headed north to Pleasant Stream
Keep me in your heart for awhile

These wheels keep turning but they're running out of steam
Keep me in your heart for awhile

Keep me in your heart for awhile

Keep me in your heart for awhile

Keep me in your heart for awhile

© 2003 Zevon Music (BMI) / Googolplex Music (BMI)

An old friend's mother died late last month. I remember reading the obit in the paper and being conflicted as to what to do. I haven't heard from her in about a year now because of her new husband's wishes, and I've studiously avoided any direct contact with her since. Not that I haven't been tempted many times, but why darken anyone's digital doorstep when you're not wanted. Yeah it sucks to be forgotten, but life goes on. But now I'm listening to Warren, reflecting on all that he's saying, and wondering if I've set myself up for regrets at the end of all things.

Last week I received an email from the woman who lived next door to me when I lived in New Jersey. Her husband had just died, and she was writing to tell me the sad news. John and Mary were the first adults to treat me as someone who had value and ideas of his own instead of the snot nosed little kid that I suspect that I was at the time. I never thanked him for that.

Most of us won't have a clue as to when we'll leave this rock for good. Zevon was given notice and had a year to put his thoughts and emotions into music for the ones he loved. Well, I can't count on being given a timetable for my demise. I don't think any of us can. Sadly, the business of life always seems to get in the way of telling those we love how we feel. I look at the master calendar in the kitchen and see very few days in the month when something isn't happening. Bible studies, tennis matches, band practices, orchestra practices, tennis practices (lots of practices -- you'd think we'd have gotten it right by now), Planning and Zoning protests, going to musicals, going to football games to watch Bailey march, working on the church web page and trying to find time to keep my own web site current. Not enough time devoted to telling John how much his live added value to mine...

or telling Michelle how sad I am for her loss.

Well I do the best that I can and hope it's enough, but am I really focusing on what's important -- telling those who I care about how I feel, and taking the time to enjoy every sandwich? Probably not, and it's something that I'll have to work on for the rest of my life.

So to the 2.5 readers of my journal, I challenge you to seek out someone who you haven't talked to in a while and let them know how you really feel. I'll be doing the same from this end of the net..

Posted by mjwoods at September 11, 2003 08:15 PM

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