"You can see the stars and still not see the light." That's what the man said. Or sang. He probably said it out loud at least a couple of times just to get the feel of it. Glenn Frey, that is. He died over the long weekend. His was a voice I grew up with. Other than my own, that is. I learned that nasal twang and careful harmonies with his partner in crime, Don Henley. I liked to turn those records up loud and sing along. I was no match for that plaintive Henley wail, but something about Glenn's voice made me believe that I could fly like an Eagle, or sing like one under carefully monitored conditions. Now that voice is gone. For the record, he didn't make it as far down that road as David Bowie.
Or Alan Rickman. Alan passed just days after Bowie, and as a result was not necessarily afforded the attention that he might otherwise have garnered. Alan was, I believe, responsible for Bruce Willis' rise from the small screen to the big. To be a great action hero, you have to go head-to-head with somebody really bad. Hans Gruber was really bad. Exceptional, in fact. To quote Hans, "I am an exceptional thief, Mrs. McClane. And since I'm moving up to kidnapping, you should be more polite." My wife wondered if Mister Rickman had ever played a hero, and I said, "Of course: Severus Snape."
And these were two more lights that went out. Lights in my firmament. Why would I care more about these characters than any others? Why don't I write about all the less luminary who pass on? It's a way to keep track, like rings on a tree. The wider rings show years of growth and the skinny ones let us know when there was a drought. This year hasn't been so much of a drought, but a downpour. Stars keep falling from the sky.
Why does it matter? Because these were the lights that shone the way for me. Some more than others. I will not be writing a tribute to Lawrence Phillips here in this blog. Though he had a moment of brilliance on the gridiron, he never connected with my world. Could be a Nebraska thing. Could be that killing yourself in prison doesn't get you to the front of my list. But he lived a life and for some, he stomped on the Terra.
But not like Alan "Cancel Christmas!" Rickman. Or Glenn "Take It Easy" Frey. It is because of the Eagles' guitarist that I have made a point not once but twice in my life of standing on a corner of Winslow, Arizona. There won't be any more of that kind of fun coming out of those jars anytime soon. Alas. Aloha, Alan and Glenn. In your own inimitable ways, you stomped on the Terra.