Story and Photo by Sumshee
We live in The Highlands, an older neighborhood with lots of three-story houses, big trees and alleys. One winter night a few years ago, at two or three in the morning, I went out onto the back porch to enjoy the night before going off to bed. I have an old radio with a cassette player. It’s perfect for 24/7 outside use on the back porch. It even has two short-wave bands, which is nifty for tuning to distant and foreign radio stations late at night.
The radio was tuned to a high school radio station from across the river in New Albany, Indiana. They are mostly automated during non-school times. It has a pretty cool format: If it was ever a hit, in ANY genre, they play it. I have heard segways like the old ‘50s hit “Primrose Lane” followed by Willie Nelson, then AC/DC. Now THAT’S a mix. The only tie-in is that is was a hit. That’s the thread.
Just as I stepped out onto the porch, on comes “Imagine” by John Lennon. It struck a chord with me more strongly than usual on that cold, clear, crisp, quiet night – nary a leaf on a tree to muffle the sound traveling through the neighborhood, no traffic sounds, and that special “carry” of sound that cold air seems to have, much akin to that on a glassy lake ... it seems to go forever.
I turned up the radio ... pretty loud, actually. Who, in their right heart, could possibly complain?
The freedom and thrill of all the good parts of the ‘60s and ‘70s filled my heart, bringing such good memories: the new, fresh sounds of that era’s music, the peace movement, the camaraderie of the new day, the unity of spirit ... the generous glow.
And, of course, the intense grief of loss when our John was taken from us years later.
I soared with the tune. My head was held high to face more fully the stars on that cold night ... to maybe feel closer to the past, to the dreams ... to John and the chevron which he raised high.
As with those reflected times, the song, too, came to a much-too-soon end. Not wanting to break the mood, I pressed and released the power button on top of the radio.
Then, with perfect timing ... what seemed to be IMPECCABLE timing ... enough to allow the soul and heart to absorb that moment, from SOMEwhere across the alley and down ... I don’t know ... six to ten houses, came a loud, long, heartfelt, glorious call of humanity.
The welling tears broke.
I wish so, to this day, that I could thank and hug whoever that was who punctuated so well that perfect moment.
But, at the same time, the anonymity ... the facelessness of that fellow human, made it incomparably wonderful in its own way.