I was pregnant with my son when my husband and I heard the news on the radio that morning. Our son’s middle name is Lennon in John’s honor.
Folks in Carding are also remembering that day today, each in their own way.
It all started with the deejay on Dirt Road Radio. Spanky, as she liked to be called, thought of herself as a “hopeful romantic” (“I’m too young to be a hopeless romantic, now, aren’t I?”) so it was just like her to be mindful of the significance of December 8 for her listening audience.
At precisely 6:10 a.m., after a short burst of headlines, cautions about roads coated with the first snow of the season, and a rundown of local temperatures, Spanky let rip with the faster version of John Lennon’s “Revolution,” her personal favorite.
Still half asleep, Edie Wolfe’s eyes popped open when she heard John sing “You say you want a revolution, Well, you know, we all want to change the world.” Oh my, she thought, it can’t be that day again, can it?
“Thirty-six years ago today, folks.” Spanky poured her smooth alto voice into the microphone. “Thirty-six years ago we lost one of the greatest musical artists ever put on this planet.”
And then she launched “Whatever Gets You Through the Night,” singing along with the chorus: “It’s all right, it’s all right.”
Edie wasn’t sure how it had happened but over the years she had lost the music habit that had nurtured her when she was a younger woman. Nowadays, she sometimes listened to the news but her preference was mostly shows from NPR with a bit of music and the local weather from Dirt Road Radio thrown in, all leavened with podcasts recommended by her grandchildren.
So it was no surprise to find a thin layer of dust on the edge of her CD collection on the shelf next to her seldom-used stereo. Since her fingers already knew what she was going to choose, there was no need to think about it. Edie extracted Revolver (still her favorite Beatles album) and Double Fantasy, John Lennon’s last recording, and slid them into the CD player.
Revolver came first, and Edie smiled over the bite of George Harrison’s “Tax Man,” sang along with John’s “I’m Only Sleeping,” and then bowed her head as tears pooled in her eyes as “Here, There and Everywhere” drifted through the speakers.
It was the song that Jean-Paul sang to their children, the twins Diana and Daniel, when they were infants in arms.
Across the town green, that same Diana (now a Mom with two teenagers of her own) looked up when she heard Spanky’s morning selections. Her husband, Stephen, grinned, wiped his hands, and then clicked on the kitchen laptop’s icon for their music library. The family favorite was Sargent Pepper’s, and the two of them were soon bellowing the chorus to “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” as they opened the doors of the Crow Town Bakery for business.
Over in Cooper’s General Store, Andy Cooper queued up Rubber Soul on the store’s stereo. The album was his personal favorite because he once had a girlfriend named “Michelle.” When that song was paired with the seductive sighing in John Lennon’s “Girl,” Andy experienced one of his favorite moments of nostalgia without anyone else being the wiser.
One by one, stereos, iPods, and car radios picked up the theme of the day. “Eleanor Rigby” came to life again as did “Nowhere Man” and “A Day in the Life.” Everyone sensed Spanky whirling in her studio, and even though the occasion was sad, the joy of the music made everyone smile.
The Reverend Gordon Lloyd picked up snatches of different tunes as he walked to the Crow Town Bakery for his morning coffee and muffin, and the tense knot between his eyebrows lessened a little. It was a month to the day since the election, and the emotional splinters among his flocks had yet to heal.
He was especially troubled by a new element in the attitude of some members of his flock, members that had celebrated the national election’s results with arrogant, almost belligerent outbursts in those first days.
That Sunday, this small subset started a muttering campaign in the church against those not deemed of the “right kind” to be Episcopalians. Reverend Lloyd stepped in as soon as the intolerant speech was brought to his attention but he retained a sour feeling that his efforts had not been well-received. He feared that, like an underground stream, the muttering would re-emerge in a different, harsher, way.
He’d already noticed that the Lambert family had stopped coming to services, and the good priest feared there would be more folks who would bow to the as-yet unspoken prejudice against difference hanging over his beloved church.
It had to be stopped but he was uncertain as to how.
So it’s not surprising that the words he hummed as he opened the Crow Town Bakery’s door were: “All we are saying, is give peace a chance.”
Thank you for journeying with me to Carding, Vermont. If you subscribe to my website, you’ll find a short story in your inbox every Thursday morning along with food photos and recipes from the Crow Town Bakery (on Fridays), and other green peak moments from Vermont (Mondays and Tuesdays).
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The Carding novels are (in order of appearance):