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Boy Howdy, It Was Glen Campbell On The Jukebox

August 8th, 2017 · Tags:Uncategorized


It was about 1972 that my friend took me to the mountains of New Mexico for my first snow skiing trip.  It was the time of my life at that point.  We went to a tiny, family-operated ski resort in Raton Pass, New Mexico.  The ski  instructor taught us how to “snowplow” only and turned us loose.  All day we went up and down the tiny mountain trails. 

We skied and wiped out and took turns picking each other up.  The place was so small there weren’t ski lift chairs, there were these hook-like metal things dangling from a rope that went up the mountain.  The skiers straddled the hook, pointed their skis in the right direction, and the hooks towed them up the hill.

We skied non-stop, but finally the sun went down and four kids in our early teen years turned in our skis and we all walked to the tiny ski lodge — four teens and my friend’s parents.  I can still smell what I think was cindering hickory and pine in the fireplace of the lodge.  We had a great meal in the tiny restaurant.  At that point in life, I had been in very few restaurants.  That too was such a treat … a real holiday vacation, with such great friends … among a great family.

We sat in the restaurant, which also had a bar adjoining it.  I had never seen the inside of a bar before, not even a bar and grill.  Everyone was friendly and we talked and learned that the people operating the restaurant had once lived in my home town.  It was such a wonderful, perfect time in my life.

Well … all of this is leading up to this.  Often in life — at a special time and sometimes also at bad times — we can hear music that becomes “the soundtrack” of that moment.  That’s what happened.  This tiny ski lodge had a juke box.  Someone pumped in a quarter, and it played a mellow song I had never heard before.  I have hardly heard it since.  It was a waltz, certainly not my style of music.  But because of the atmosphere of the place and the special time … it seemed like it was the best song I had ever heard.  So sincere … so poignant.

Though the song was new to me, the singer’s voice was recognizable immediately.  It was Glen Campbell.  We had all grown up watching his show, religiously … and liking most of his songs.  But because of the circumstances … this wonderful time of my life … that “soundtrack” song on the jukebox became my all-time favorite Glen Campbell song, “I Wanna Live.”

I wish I had found a video of him performing it live … in his earlier career, when he was a youthful guitar player with surfer-guy good looks.  Recently, I think most of us have read about how Campbell’s diminishing health had slowly whittled away at Glen’s talent … his life … his personality, in the final years.  This song that I mention overflows with hope … and I guess the slide show someone put together is pretty good.  Lastly … I highly recommend two things.  One: try to find the documentary on Glen Campbell’s last tour … completed even while Alzheimer’s Disease was taking him away … surrounded on stage by a loving, beautiful, talented family.  The documentary is so sad when you see him losing his grip on reality … and then it is so wonderful when you see him come alive on stage, despite his illness. Second: If you have a loved one showing signs of this terrible illness … visit with them frequently and at length while you can.  Shoot a video.  You will cherish it once they are gone … it will give you a chance to always view them as they once were.  Rest in peace, Glen Campbell.


Know what I sayin?