Monday, June 29, 2009

(3) Seventeen Years Ago -- June 29, 1992

(continued from 6/28/09)

" . . . we just lazed around reading and listening to the guys. I always loved to hear them write and record, especially write. Since I have virtually no musical ability, I have the utmost admiration for those who do, and it never ceased to give me a thrill to listen to those talented musicians compile their abilities and come out with a beautiful song. So much of it was trial and error, give and take, play and record. Then re-record because the first one didn't sound just right. Someone didn't come in exactly when he should. Someone missed a beat. Someone hit a wrong note. Always perfecting. Sometimes shouting. Always laughing. Always laughing. That laugh that I can't forget. I love it. Does Jesus love it just as much as I do? Oh, how I hope so. (My friend Ellen Lett died yesterday. I'm so selfish since Jay died. I want him to be the first one to meet everyone who goes to Heaven. As soon as I heard of her death, I'm ashamed to say that I didn't immediately mourn. Instead, all I could think of was that she would see Jay . . . that maybe he was the one to meet her. I doubt that he was because she has so many closer loved ones there, and I know that they were scrambling over each other to get to her. He had to wait in line. But I know he gave her one of those great Jay hugs as soon as he reached her. I just know that's what happened! I guess I've gotten a little off track, haven't I?)
"Sometime during the morning, Frank looked at me and said, 'These kids need a washer and a dryer in this house. It's not right for Terri to have to carry clothes out to the laundromat in her condition.' (Terri was Jerry's wife. He was the guitar player in Velvet Melon. And Terri was very much pregnant, as if she could be a little bit pregnant.) Thus, the washer/dryer idea was born. Jay concurred, and we approached the guys. They agreed to make the payments each month if we would put the appliances on our Sears credit card. We also suggested getting a mower since their rental agreement stipulated that they must keep the lawn up. To this they agreed, also. So later that afternoon we would run errands with Jay, including going to Sears for our purchases.
"I might mention here that I thoroughly enjoyed myself by reading to my heart's content during the days that we were with Jay. The two books that I definitely remember relishing were Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man, by Fannie Flagg, and The Outer Banks, by Anne Rivers Siddons. I laughed all the way through Daisy Fay, and I worried all the way through Outer Banks. I firmly believe that both were intended for me at this very time. I needed to laugh -- the greatest tragedy in my life was just around the corner. I needed the Siddons book because of the ideas presented, namely dealing with the death of a child. Isn't it strange how you can pick up a book and not know the treasure that awaits you? That book is about a woman's dealing with the death of a young child, not exactly what I would deal with very soon; however, her negative reactions came to me frequently in the immediate days as I tried to cope positively with Jay's death. I didn't copy the heroine in her attitude; rather, I tried to avoid her feelings. This probably sounds very strange.
"That afternoon, we went with Jay to see Bill Puryear from Crescent Moon Talent Agency. Bill very much wanted Jay to sign with him exclusively. We sat for about two hours in his office, listening to Jay and him talk business. I remember sitting in the background, saying nothing, just listening to my boy in his adult role. He was a peer with this thirty-something man. Proud is a mild adjective to use for what I felt. I was puffed up! Why was this very successful businessman pursuing my boy? He's just a boy. Just my little boy. Just my son. WRONG! He, too, was a man. He, too, was a businessman. He was important. He had something that Bill Puryear wanted -- talent. And he would have gotten that talent exclusively had Jay lived. Probably within a couple of weeks. But it was not meant to be.
"Later, we went to Sears and made our purchases, with the promise that they would be delivered on Thursday, July 2. Jay and I acted silly while Frank did the business of the day. We invited the saleslady to be on the lookout for Velvet Melon in the Nashville area and to attend a gig. I wonder if she ever thought of that again. Probably no. I feel sorry for her because she never got to see Jay in action. ('No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were. Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.' -- John Donne) We went to eat at a great restaurant afterwards. It was so wonderful to be with Jay alone. I always got a real charge out of watching him eat. He would eat for a while and then rest for a while. When resting, he'd put his arm over the back of the chair and just sit there as if he were waiting for the food to digest before continuing. All the time, he'd be talking, entertaining, laughing. And he'd tell stories . . . just little scraps of things that had happened during the past days, little things that people had said to him . . . but they would become great things, wonderful tales. Nothing was ever ordinary with Jay. Nothing. (He certainly 'gathered rosebuds,' evidently realizing that 'old time is still a-flying.' I surely am literary tonight. It's difficult to read that 'stuff' for as long as I have and not have some lines to slip in every once in a while.)
"I know that what we did together that afternoon probably sounds ho-hum to many, but even as it happened, I felt that it was a gloriously important day. I felt fulfilled as a mother. It's been a long time since that afternoon and evening. Monday, June 29, 1992, was the last time that we would have alone with our son. Does the 'glory' of that day need further explanation? I doubt it."

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