The Day the Music Died

The majority of my early education was in the classroom. I have specific, though fleeting, memories of sitting in 6th grade Science toiling away on a “science notebook” with carefully crafted colored pencil illustrations on the process of photosynthesis. I also remember that the Middle School was undergoing extreme renovations while I sat in class and there were often contractors and painters toiling away in a different way while I copied my assignments from my textbook. On a regular day the topic of the Atomic Bomb somehow came up, who knows how, and I raised my hand tentatively. At that time I was a very quiet student, thankfully (or unfortunately) my high school experience forced me to stop hiding behind others and speak my mind. I asked my teacher, “didn’t the heat of the explosion cause shadows of people to be left on the walls?” She denied this, looked at me quizzically and then the contractor or the painter (whoever he was) suddenly defended me. “She’s right, the shadows were left on the walls.”

I learned that little tidbit from my Dad over one of his infamous Breakfast Lectures. He covered a variety of topics, many of which might seem inappropriate for kids, but my father never saw anything as off limits. So we heard about the Atomic Bomb. We discussed Hitler. He encouraged us to question organized religion, especially after I came home from CCD and thanked him for being such a great Foster Father. He sent me armed to take on a Music Teacher who had been giving me grief – “ask her what a hemidemisemiquaver is?” She had no idea – it’s a 1/64th note. Another morning topic – “American Pie.” You know Don McLean’s American Pie – we all know all the words to the epic. “Daddy what’s a levy?” became a discussion about theories and analysis pointing to Vietnam, Buddy Holly and “the day the music died.”

Whenever I hear that song I am instantly eating cookie cutter shaped pancakes off a white plate on an orange place mat with hidden OJ stains. I am listening to my Dad tell me about the world. “American Pie” is my Dad to me and yesterday I got to share it with Caroline. It came on Sirius while I was en route to pick her up and I paused the song to play it for her when we got in the car to drive home. I explained to my nearly 21 month-old daughter that this was an important song about music and culture in the 60’s and that it was an important song to her Mommy and her Granda. She asked me to stop singing. I didn’t listen. I am waiting for the tune to come from her lips anytime now.

Coincidentally, another Kerry shares this same song with her Dad also known to us as Papa. It’s great to have something like that – and to share it with Caroline makes me smile to think of the great discussions we might someday have over a hot breakfast. Sometimes things are funny. On a day I was thinking of my father constantly, here was our song.

Dad’s recovering well at home with some serious pain management. I spoke to Nurse Nana early yesterday afternoon and while they needed to do a bit more than they anticipated, the doctor said it went well. Last night I phoned the patient on his land line and he was just about able to move his fingers a bit and preparing for an onslaught of pain. Steve had a similar surgery between HS and College and he said Day 2 is the worst pain he has ever experienced in his life. Thinking of you today Dad…

Also thinking of Tasha and Tony who are celebrating their

FOURTH wedding anniversary today.
She was a beautiful bride and is now
an even more beautiful Mom.


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