It is October 15th. My niece is turning sweet 16, about the age I was when I met the boy in Strawberry Wine. The rest is country music history. Ha. The trajectory of time is stunning to me these days. I can’t believe I was that young and thought I knew what I was doing.
My stepson, Jaime, and his wife are expecting their first child. I married Jeff when Jaime was just a teenager, I knew his wife when she was just Harry Stinson’s little girl bringing me coffee when I wrote with her dad. And a sweet baby is coming soon.
Then…my stepbrother, Paul Kirby, suddenly died from an illness no one saw coming. I idolized him and his band, Walk the West. Followed them around like a puppy dog. I’d never heard of Elvis Costello, or the Police, or Jason and the Scorchers till then. Paul died on a crystal blue September day, just like my mother did in 1984, far too young. I am thinking about the last episode of Six Feet Under. If you haven’t seen it I highly recommend it. I now want to hold every moment with fingers closed, hands cupped, and drink it in. These are precious times, no matter how blah they can feel sometimes. Oh…and I want to call that person I have been meaning to talk to but just couldn’t grab the time. Hold someone I love real tight and breathe them in. You know what I mean…and how many times have I made this vow? Paul, I love you. Will miss you. and… I hope I’ve learned. Now shake the dust off of your wings, time to fly…not a cloud to slow you down.
What beautiful words you have written. They give me strength as I am here in beautiful Lake Tahoe, a walk on the beach with my twin brother this
morning, such beauty and fine weather, the light supreme…such precious moments knowing he has a cancer that will take his life. I can’t imagine losing another brother so soon to this horrible illness, but can only trust God and be grateful for the beautiful morning that we shared, seeing the same things together and sitting here tonight talking about our future, be it in heaven.
God Bless you. not a cloud to slow you down…such touching words…
Thank you as they have touched my heart and soul.
The perspective of time sure differs from what it was in the bloom of youth. Moments stream by in daily life, not volunteering to linger like they once seemed to. Hearing of one’s contemporaries dying, of folks a generation younger becoming couples and parents … all this can spur us to realize who and what are important to us and hold them closer.
gorgeous. you’re such a beautiful writer, matraca. i think you need to write a book. i miss you and will call you for sure when i get back at the end of the month. x
Yesterday I was listening to Eagles “Hell Freezes Over” and I realized that when they released that record back in 1994, they just had taken a 14 years vacation…
Then I realized again that since 1994; 17 years have brought us happy and sad stuff, like a wise dressing on a salad.
Time goes faster and faster…
Best wishes to you and yours.
PD: You have to forgive my English. As a Spaniard I do it the best that I can.
Matraca, I’m so happy to know you’re back in the saddle. I’ve admired your work since the days we sat in Sudie’s spare bedroom and you’d play a tune and ask how it sounded…of course it was outstanding and some of the best stuff I’d heard in awhile. Who knew at that time you’d be the beautiful songbird you are today and loved the world over. Icee Lillian is smiling from heaven and bragging to all the other angels, “hey, y’all, that’s my beautiful girl”. I’m happy you and Mr Dirt are still smiling at each other. That’s a lot of years for two souls to be together. Keep taking good care of each other.
I love you, sister-cousin-friend. Peace and Blessings! Candi
Wanted you to know that your somewhat distant cousins follow your career even though you don’t know us. (Carrie Calloway’s grandchildren) But we are proud to say we are related to the lady who wrote Strawberry Wine and You and Tequila! The last time I saw your mom she was singing with her sisters at a family reunion at Cove Lake. I was star struck. It had to be over 20-25 years ago. They sang “Daddy’s hands”. Anyway, I’m so sorry about your brother. The loss of a loved one does make us stop and realize that the most precious gift we have is time with the people we love. Sending love and prayers.
Beautiful and inspiring thoughts. Thank you. Graham
Matraca, have seen you several times in England, and love your songwriting. I know and realise the pain and heartbreak of losing loved ones, especially suddenly and for no reason. I lost my first grandson at just 2 weeks of age and then my youngest son was killed in an accident just 6 weeks later, he was only 17, and had an extremely bright future ~ wrecked in just a few minutes.
I now appreciate the special times we should all spend with loved ones, as they can be taken away, in almost the blink of an eye, I just hope they’re in a better place.
It’s brilliant we have our memories, so as our loved ones are never forgotten, and can still be treasured in our moments of need.
After the 2 close deaths, I had a severe debilitating breakdown that left me without any memory, and I above all else, am so thankful it returned, I don’t think I could have carried on, with just a blank canvas, it is so gratifying to be able to recall the memories, as that is all we have of “lost ones” so I massively understand how we should care for others and never forget the ones who left for no reason.
Will see you again, some time, my admiration is undaunting, take care, Mark in England.
Matraca. . .I’ve followed you from the first album. . .but, you really got me with Back When They Were Beautiful. Probably in my top-ten songs of all time. . .if we’re keeping count. I missed you when you were in Columbus earlier this year. . .wish you’d come up to Cleveland! I’ve got you on my “follow” list on my blog. Glad you finally put out something new! We all needed a fix. . .thanks for writing. . .thanks for singing. . .thanks for keeping on.
It was just announced you are coming to the Kent Stage on November 19th! Can’t wait. Featured You and Tequila on my blog this morning. We’re hoping for a packed house–and Alex Bevan is a great guy–been around for years. . . back when he was a Skinny Little Boy from Cleveland, Ohio. . .can’t wait to see you, Matraca. . .
I have been checking out many of your stories and i must say pretty good stuff. I will make sure to bookmark your site.