Throughout my life singers and musicians have died from drug overdose, accident, suicide and natural causes. Each time I would lament them – listen to some of their music – and move on. I had other places to go and other things to do.
When I liberated myself from Mississippi back in 1959 I never looked back. I never kept in touch with any of my childhood friends. About 1980 I lost track of any kin – the only people from my past I have kept in touch with are a cousin, a half-sister and the son of my best friend.
I talked to my mother just before she died in the 1970’s. She told me she hated to go to sleep, because everyone she dreamed of was dead - she was the last of her siblings and friends.
Now, death doesn’t scare me and I sleep fine – when I sleep. I do not miss knowing that most of the people I grew up with are probably already dead, or like me skirting the grim reaper.
The only markers I have of my teen age years and young adulthood are the singers and musicians of my time; and those left are dropping away rather quickly. Yesterday we lost Merle Haggard; probably only a foot note for most people, but road mark for me.
In my teens I listened to rock and roll, in my early adulthood it was country: Hank Williams, Flat and Scruggs, Johnny Cash, Hank Snow, Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings, Willy Nelson, Patsy Cline…. These are the markers of my lifetime, and there are not many of us left.
The last of my kind and it's all going to pot.