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The CassBeth Messenger is a column that addresses the concerns of me, walt. The topics include technology, life, family, business, kids,  wife, politics, money, aliens, movies, and anything else that I chose to write about. Hopefully you will find it interesting, like I do...

What is Different About Today

Dec 7, 1998
By Walt

Today is probably like most any other day that I have been experiencing for the past several years. However, today is different from before. Its difficult for me to articulate this, but let me begin, ever so slowly, so that I don't get confused. By the way, I can't spell. I also don't understand grammer. So read at your own risk.

I came home from my real job, the one that pays the bills and after dinner proceeded to my office, that place with that thing plugged into the big brain. You know the computer plugged into the Internet. My task was to figure out how to get some addresses onto some holiday post cards. Of course the addresses are not in a database but on separate word files that are invoices. I know, don't ask. It is too hard to explain. My daughter interrupted me requesting the machine for a quick print out. I asked for her assistance to determine the best way to accomplish my task, and well it was futile.

When she completed her task, I returned to that place, the place with access to the big brain. Before starting the task of transferring the addresses from multiple word files masquerading as invoices to something that would print on holiday cards a simple greeting and destination, I turned on the old big brain. You know the boob tube, the TV. I turned it on hoping for some back ground noise, perhaps company, while I attempted to solve my addressing problem. After scanning several stations I settled on PBS. They were in the middle of featuring John Denver.

This is where it is hard for me to articulate what is inside. John Denver, I still have difficulty saying that name and not having this incredible feeling of "arrrhhaww". John Candy evokes that same reaction. I was born in 1956 and  the first time I heard John Denver was when my brother returned from a Marine Corp tour of duty in Okinawa with John Denver tapes and a stereo. I don't even know how old I was, 14, 15, maybe 16. I could not believe what I heard when the tape started to play. Call it timing, call it hormones, call it magic, but for the first time I listened to the words of the music. Then I listened to the music. Then I listened to the music and the words. The sound was so clean. I still use that term for musical groups with that certain characteristic -- clean. I still can't believe he is gone.

I can't believe I haven't listened to his music in 15 years. I wonder why I haven't heard his music in 15 years. I can't believe I listen to blow hards on talk radio. With John Denver playing in the background I was able to complete my task. But it was a painful task. Several times I avoided the sudden onrush of emotion, tears, as John sang in the background. The sense of loss was not for John as cruel as that may sound. It was for the loss of a certain time. The loss of certain approaches to life. The loss of certain ideas, un-perverted ideas. I am not a liberal, problem is I am not a conservative either. I don't care about an owl hanging out on a particular tree but I do care about intelligently managing our resources and not poisoning our environment.

Anyway, feeling I had gone as far as I could go with the address project, I proceeded downstairs to check on the kids and turned on the old big brain down stairs, TV. I scanned several stations and tuned into some blowhards on TV discussing the impeachment of Clinton. Again, strange feelings came over me. Before I ever heard John Denver, I listened to music, but perhaps not as critically. Before John Denver I had lived through the Vietnam war demonstrations, the race riots, the flight from the cities. I was only 10 maybe 12 years old, and I remember that stuff like it was yesterday. I remember it more clearly than what I did yesterday. I had opinions even back then. Even with all the unrest, I still felt secure. There was something about it that said, "its ok, everything is as it should be and things will work out for the best". I did not pay attention to the impeachment attempts of Nixon. Again, my instincts said its ok everything makes sense and is explainable. This Clinton thing is different. Nothing about it is reasonable and or explainable.

Eventually I had enough of the impeachment discussions and found myself back at PBS watching the story of the Carpenters. Again, incredible emotion and a feeling of great loss. The Carpenters were on the same set of tapes as John Denver. Again, incredibly clean music. Such music can only come from clean souls. It really is a gift that I never understood at age 10 to 14.

Back then, in the 60's and 70's there were people, leaders, who disagreed. I lived through the generation gap, and the closed minded, and the extremists. But the people, leaders, were more reasonable, no maybe broader, no perhaps more experienced. These were the people that lived through World War II. They were different. Their leadership evolved when the world convulsed and nearly entered a very Dark Age.

Now here is the real sad part. Most of the time I listened to John Denver and the Carpenters in solitude as a younster. Again today, I heard them for the first time in solitude. The kids watching TV in another room and the wife working. Today I also realized something in solitude, I realized that I think there are people with dark souls among us and unlike the age of race riots, the Vietnam War demonstrations, and the Nixon impeachment I am afraid of this age. I did not live through the Mcarthy era. It sounds crazy and I thought I would never say it but I really miss the wacko 60's and 70's,  and even the early 80's. No, I don't think time heals all wounds and always makes yesterday look better. I know today is really different from yesterday.

Next Time Planet Earth

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