Don’t Let Me Down

beatles2I’m passionate about music, but never wanted to call myself a Dead Head or Parrot Head. The Seattle Supersonics were my team, but I never bought one Sonics t-shirt, bumper sticker, or shower curtain. I slammed danced at punk rock concerts, but refused to wear black high tops or a skinny tie. I’ve never joined a fan club or otherwise celebrated the devotion to a subject over the subject itself. I guess that’s why I wouldn’t write on the Abbey Road wall.

Yet I had to get a picture of us crossing the road. The decorum among the fans was to let people have their moment. Even the speeding cars came to a screeching halt just inches before the zebra lines. Because of the weather, the crowds were small and we didn’t wait long for our turn. Donna bravely navigated her way to the same meridian the Beatles photographer stood on that hot August day in 1969. I played John and lead the kids off the curb. It seemed to take forever to cross the wide street and felt sort of awkward staying in step, so it was difficult to enjoy the moment. Donna met us back on the other side. The photos she took turned out great and I was happy we’d gone for it.

The Beatles hold a special place in my heart. Their music was my friend at a time when true friends were scarce. My parents separated when I was eleven. My two younger sisters and I were suddenly bombarded with a wake of their debris that nobody, especially children, should have been expected to withstand. Family, teachers, and pastors tried to provide consolation, but it didn’t help. Their words floated right past my frizzy head. They had no idea what I was going through. The music was my missing link. It spoke to me. I’d spend hours in my bedroom headphones clamped in place blocking out an unsettling world with miracle working musical brilliance.

By fourteen my parents had reunited and separated enough times to make my head swim. This ebb and tide of emotion around the house didn’t exactly breed a model student. Rather than study algebra, I studied the cover of the Abbey Road album. Nearly five years had passed since they broke up. I looked closely at their faces, I could swear I recognized the tension of their final days together as they crossed that road  – each dressed differently – not wearing matching costumes as before – no longer celebrating the group – Paul walking barefoot and flipping off the camera with his cigarette – Soon we’ll be away from here, step on the gas and wipe that tear away. Their individual solo music that followed would be as good if not better than the band stuff. Imagine, My Sweet Lord, Uncle Albert.  Such greatness awaited each of them. Did they know this when that photo was shot? Maybe, maybe not, but I did, and that brought tremendous comfort to me.

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