Glenn Frey’s passing has left an unexpected, sad hole in our lives and by “unexpected” I mean that I sadly didn’t really get the significance of his contribution until he was gone. Like many of us I loved his music and for those of us “70’s kids” The Eagles were a big part of the soundtrack of our lives. Just about every song has a memory to it.
I remember one time in particular. It was the very early 80’s and a roommate and I were sitting around on a Friday night, wondering what we’d do for the weekend. When she suggested we head to Vegas, I was completely on board
We didn’t have reservations, we hadn’t prepared or packed. We had no cell phones of course, we didn’t update our Twitter or Facebook feeds. We just filled her car up with gas and headed out.
One thing we had though were her Eagles tapes and we played all of them as we drove, windows down, through the desert like some less ill-fated Thelma and Louise. We sang at the top of our lungs to Take it to the Limit, Peaceful Easy Feeling and Lyin’ Eyes, we never stopped, we just drove until, sometime after midnight the bright lights of Vegas came into view. We cheered as we drove down the strip and Tequila Sunrise wafted from the speakers.
We grabbed the first motel we came to. I brought my tape player into the room, we got wine from a local liquor store and got ready to go out. I’m pretty sure Witchy Woman was playing in the background.
I don’t remember much else about that weekend, just the music we both loved so much and how The Eagles got us to Vegas and back and became the soundtrack of not just that weekend, but again, our lives.
I was reading an opinion piece on CNN about how losing Glenn Frey has hit those of us 70’s kids in a particularly hard way and they’re right. To us, The Eagles were our version of the Beatles. Their music was synonymous with a time and an era long past and one we know we’ll never see again.
The 70’s were, in a word, iconic, for many of us. By the time the 80’s rolled in we were expected to get jobs and start living responsibly but the 70’s were a bit of a free ride. We didn’t care and we didn’t care if the world cared or not. We were just kids who loved our music and loved our freedom. We weren’t following the news, and it wasn’t that we cared any less about the state of the world but we knew –probably more so than we do now – that in the end the only thing we can change is ourselves. So we did. We morphed from carefree to responsible and we did our best. But at the heart of all of us is the music, the lyrics we can’t shake or that song that comes on and suddenly I’m right back in that car with my dear friend, blasting music. We’re singing (badly) at the top of our lungs and we didn’t care. We didn’t care about the next day or the day after. We only cared about that moment we were in, that shutter shot second in time. Isn’t it funny how those are the moments you never forget?
We need more of that, more moments of being in the moment. We are afforded so few of them these days. We really did take it to the limit, but not in the way that we would now with goals and schedules and check-marked lists of “I did this today and I got kudos on Facebook!” because being productive is what it’s all about, right?
Maybe it’s not. Maybe we should toss our resolutions and create new ones. Turn off our contraptions and make memories instead of updates. Let the moment take us instead of being focused on capturing moments so we can share them our social media feeds.
Take it to the limit. Maybe in the end, that’s really what we miss, maybe that’s the iconic loss we feel. The memories the music helped us create and now with Glenn gone we are reminded that our time here is as limited as the lyrics of a song. It all ends and it all ends too soon.
My advice? Listen to some music, get lost in it. Turn off your phone, turn off everything. Just listen. Toast to Glenn and the music he helped create with The Eagles and the memories they helped foster and by all means, before the song ends, take it to the limit.
“So put me on a highway
And show me a sign
And take it to the limit one more time.”
~ The Eagles