Saturday, June 27, 2009
(1) Seventeen Years Ago -- June 27, 1992
Seventeen years ago from right now, Frank and I were sitting in Yesterday's, a popular bar in Chattanooga, watching Jay play his last gig. In 1993, I wrote a piece that I titled "One Year Journal -- A Piece of My Heart." Here are a few paragraphs from my recollections of that night:
"I remember feeling the usual thrill of pride as Jay strode into the club, flipping his hair, and looking around claiming his territory. If only I had the words to describe exactly how he looked as he walked into those clubs. All who knew him know exactly what I mean. Usually the first sound that we'd hear after he walked in was either a "Hey, man! How ya doin'?" or that laugh that started in his toes and traveled up to that Jay smile . . . the same one he had had since he was a baby. There's not another one like it. Sometimes in the strangest places I hear that laugh, and I laugh through my tears. I know that somewhere on all these videos that laugh is recorded. Someday I'll listen, but not yet . . . not yet. When will it not be too soon? Someday.
"That June 27 gig was just like all the others that we attended at Yesterday's . . . young people wall to wall, too much drinking, lots of noise, so many people that it was almost impossible to get to the restroom, great rock 'n' roll music, love flowing from the stage to the audience, especially from Jay. I recall that there was one guy who kept throwing money at Jay; someone told us that he was absolutely captivated by my boy. Not anything weird . . . that's not what I mean. He just enjoyed watching Jay perform. He was one of the first to buy one of the new t-shirts that had the guys in the band on the front and Jimmy on the sleeve. Frank and I were wearing them, too. Actually, mine is different; it has only the VM logo on the front. I don't know why I didn't want the other kind. Maybe a little premonition . . . I don't know. I don't really enjoy wearing the shirts with Jay's picture on them. To tell you the truth, I don't like the one I was wearing that night either. Crazy lady, I guess.
"The audience was wild that night . . . absolutely wild. I remember that Jay came to sit with us during the second break. I can never understand parents and children who don't have the relationship that we have always had with our children. Jay was always proud to have us in his audience, and he always found time to sit with us for a few minutes. As he sat with us that evening, sweat dripping from him and the hands going in the usual manner through his hair, he said something that I will never forget. Neither will Frank. We've told so many people those words. He was sitting there with the chair turned backwards, between his mom and dad, and he said, 'You'll never know the feeling . . . the feeling of having the crowd right in your hands. It's so great! There's nothing like it!' With that, he pushed away and was off to table hop, making everyone feel special That was just his way. We all know that."
Just feeling a bit nostalgic today and wanted to get some ideas down, even if the original words came from so long ago. It's hard to believe that Jay has been gone almost as long as we had him here with us. I still miss him every day.