If time allows…

If nothing else, this long-winding pandemic has given us all time to think.  And look back on so much of what we’ve easily taken for granted.

Travel, for one.  Visiting far-away family and being part of special events in their lives.

Last May, into June, was one occasion.  A big one at that.  Our oldest grandson’s graduation from high school.  To be part of his celebration was a gift and a blessing, especially since so many other families have had this precious time taken away this year, due to this damn virus. 

It was an incredible day.  Whether it’s your child or a grandchild, that burst of pride that creeps up in your chest, slowly taking your breath away as their name is called, and they walk across the stage, is something we’ve all experienced…and treasure.

Jake's Graduation-2019

Graduation was followed by a visit to the University of Florida, our grandson’s next stop on the way to his future as a DVM.  We enjoyed a tour of the campus with a special stop at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium and a visit to the college bookstore and some fun photos with our youngest grandchild.





One special thing about Gainesville, Florida (for me) aside from UF is that Tom Petty was born and raised there.  Yes, I am a diehard fan.  Always was, always will be and…the visit couldn’t have ended better than with a stop at Tom Petty Park.



So, there you have it.  One year ago, a few days to gather memories and conjure up much wishful thinking for the chance to do it all again. 

If time allows.


workshop-button-1From Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop…Throwback Thursday: Choose a photo from a previous June and write!
One photo just wasn’t enough to share all the special memories from June of 2019.  Looking back from where we’re all sitting or self-distancing now, in 2020, it almost seems like an eternity, not just one year.


Words and Music…

When MTV first became popular, I remember sitting with my children and watching the array of music videos offered by the network. It was 1981 and groups like A Flock of Seagulls, Siouxsie and the Banshees and Scandal danced across the television screen but, the more it played,  I found myself connected to the words and music of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

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“Breakdown”, “Here Comes My Girl”, “You Got Lucky”, “The Waiting”, “A Woman in Love”….all with Tom Petty’s smooth Southern rock style.  And, the totally out-of-the-box “Don’t Come Around Here No More” with its Alice in Wonderland theme and bizarre Alice “cake” served at the video’s end.  Disturbing but oh, so entertaining! 



There was something about his spunk, his refuse-to-be defeated attitude in dealing with his professional life and the record establishment who, all too often, exerted a choke-hold on the contracted performer. When he toured on the East Coast and was in the New York area, I rushed to get tickets to every concert available and, like a typical groupie, made it a point to buy a souvenir shirt from each concert venue.  

One of the most memorable (and there were a few) was his Full Moon Fever concert at Jones Beach and the long rainy drive out where I feared the event might get cancelled.  The summer showers finally gave way to an overcast sky as the concert started. Tom strolled onto the theater’s stage and the clouds parted to reveal the most magnificent full moon.  He just put his guitar down, looked up at the moon and held his arms up to the heavens. The crowd must have yelled and cheered for more than fifteen minutes before the music could begin.

And there was his appearance at Irving Plaza in New York City in April of 1999 during his Echo tour and a trip to the concert with my very-pregnant daughter.  Neither of us realized that it was an SRO event and not a comfy environment for a woman almost eight months along the baby highway. Once inside, good old Braxton Hicks came knocking and two of the theater personnel RAN to get my daughter a chair and escorted her to sit upstairs in the balcony.  But, there I was, down on the floor looking back and waving to my daughter, determined to hold my place right in front of the stage as Tom Petty came out and started playing.  It was my moment…until I looked back again, saw her sad face, grimacing with pain, and the fun was over.  Of course, once we headed home, the contractions ceased. Of course.

Yes, it was all about his words and music.  Tom combined both elements in his own poetic way although he felt he was anything but someone possessing special powers of imagination or expression.  

I came across an interview where he told the stories behind his songs and stated that his friend Bob Dylan once told him he was a poet and Petty was flustered. “I couldn’t help feel it was like being told you’re an archer and you know you don’t even own a bow.” His reluctance to consider himself a poet is probably one of the reasons he endured as such an extraordinary and prolific songwriter. Relatively unburdened by the label of genius that has been more frequently attached to Dylan, Simon, Springsteen, and others, Petty easily leapfrogged past his first hits into a realm of previously unimagined, unencumbered songwriting, creating new songs as joyously free-falling and uncontrived as the best that rock and roll could be. Tom shared his feelings, stating that…“It’s not supposed to be that good. It’s an alternative music, rock and roll. It’s dissonant. It’s blue. It bends the notes. So how much are we going to worry about it? As long as it’s got some soul to it, it’s going to be fine. It’s so simple you can walk right by it.”

I started writing this post on October 2nd, a horrific day that dawned with a nightmare in Las Vegas and the senseless murders of 58 innocent people and injuries of hundreds more by a madman, a coward,  perched in a hotel window, intent on killing. During the day, the hapless mainstream media managed to trip and fall with reports of Tom Petty’s passing; CBS News led the group of media idiots and, late in the day, retracted their statements.  Tom was on life support but the inevitable loomed.  

He died at 8:40 p.m.  66 years young.  The music so many of us loved died with him.



workshop-button-1From Mama Kat’s Writers Workshop…Write about a celebrity death that hit you hard. Why do you think it impacted you the way it dd?

I wrote this almost three years ago, on October 2, 2017, and just felt this post worth sharing again.  Why?  Good question.  I’d say that everything Tom Petty was about, his words, his music, left a lasting impression.  Especially on me.  Of all the concerts I’ve attended over the years, his were always the most engaging.  He had a way of reaching out, of touching his fans, with a line or two from his songs and his performances were always completely focused on every audience.  When it’s often said that performers come and go, some just fade away but Tom Petty’s career went beyond his talents as a musician, he waged a battle against the music industry that changed forever how artists negotiate with record companies.  He refused to back down.  In my book, that’s damn admirable for an enterprise that, in 2017, gave recording artists just 12% of the 43 billion the music industry generated.  Tom Petty picked his battle…and won.