so, my dad died more than eleven years ago. we didn’t have a typical funeral for him. in part because we had no money. we actually had to borrow money just to pay for the cremation. instead we had a “party” at a local bar & the entertainment was provided by all the local bands that my dad liked. because, sometimes i forget this in all the weirdness that has happened since with my mom, my parents were pretty involved in the local music scene back in the day. they ran a little label & put out records by local bands. i used to host a weekly all-ages show every sunday night for a couple of years when i was a teenager. it’s weird that i just forgot about that, since it used to be the biggest thing going on in my life. anyway.
at this “party,” someone had the not-so-brilliant idea of putting out notebooks & pens & asking people to record some of their favorite memories of my dad. i mean, it sounds like a good idea, right? everyone is listening to music & getting drunk. what better time to pull some touching memory out of your ass? but it didn’t really go so well. as far as i can tell, some of the memories literally came from the ass.
a few days after the party, one of my parents’ friends presented my mom, myself, & both of my siblings with our own individual bound books full of photocopies of people’s memories. the following are some of the more choice selections, spelling & grammar original to the authors:
“don, we love u always. as far as i am concerned your not gone. your still here dude. we love u. foreman”
“i remember the day don was sitting on the couch with his shirt & chloe said he looked like johnny bravo. that was the funniest thing, i thought i would die laughing. chloe won’t forget you don!”
“i was a confused teen. don & mary made me realize what i want to do with my life. i wanna rock. there is nothing i can say to express the loss i feel. don recorded us live, & i even wrote a birthday song for him. we all loved ‘birthday don’. i’m just glad he got to hear it one last time before we lost him forever, as well as ‘seven,’ which we all hate playing, but how could we not at don’s request? all the ‘all ages shows,’ helping us fund our first album; i wish i could just tell him, how he touched my life, & gave it direction. god bless you all, & all you’ve done. to my second family. –kerry (crazy eddie)”
“rock on don, you big, beautiful man, you. –derek”
“hello my name is shadwyck & i love you because i have lived with a death in my close family & i love you guys. i understand i know what it is like i have lived with you the best shock it does get better trust me, it is always there, but trust me the memerey is always the gratest thing after awhile keep looking at a picture it help i love you all.”
“how i came to meet the mcewens & more adventures
me singing at howard’s: sometimes i wish i had the brain of mr. albert einstein just to think about…stuff.
don: great set.
mary: yeah, we were thinking of recording you guys.
ever since i’ve doubted nothing don & mary ever said. even when mary would make jokes & lie to see my reaction, i bought it. since meeting them, i’ve come to know others.
brick: welcome to the all ages extravaganza. we’re brick.
they put out records of bands i played in like jinkies! & jackie-o. & i always knew i could count on the whole family for some entertainment.
clark: you should hear this sparks album.
ciara: clark, you’re a nerd.
mary: wanna hit this? (holding a pipe)
for these reasons & more i give the mcewens full gratitude for being my friends thick-n-thin. love, matt”
“volume of oxygen or
either way you maintain an idea
of forward floating &
& you’re free,
we’re left wondering when you’re gonna
walk & talk into the room.
you haven’t left…”
“don was the fucking man…you guys sent me to portland with ciara & i had the best time of my life, & now i want to move there…so ‘thanks for me wanting to quit my band to move to portland’…i’m just joking…i love don, & he will be sorely missed…xoxoxo, brian k. ps–i’m really drunk right now, so i hope this doesn’t sound insensitive & sorry for the spelling errors…xoxoxo<3″
“don, as i write this, i miss you!!!!!!!! this whole night has been for you! i love you, & your family. things will not be the same without you! please let the local music scene live for you! i will carry your dreams on as long as i can! scott”
“don, every corner of the earth that i’ve played, i’ve rarely come across people as true as you–you’ve given me nothing but honesty & happiness–i’ll see you very soon–k. dan frye” (he died too less than year after my dad did, in the exact same way, at the age of 28)