Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Remembering Elvis, Remembering Dad.

I was just shy of turning eight years old when Elvis died. Dad came home from work and played his Elvis records for hours. We were all so very sad as Elvis was a huge part of the pop culture of my youth, everyone loved him. I was raised on his music as he was as much a part of the music I listened to then as was the disco and pop of my generation.

Of all his songs that I enjoy, I have two favorites. The first is In The Ghetto which was released the year I was born. As sad as that song is, whenever I hear it, I am reminded of good times. That song brings back memories of Christmas and I think it's because that's when I first heard the song.  The second fave is My Way. Sure Sinatra did it great, but Elvis did it better. I get goosebumps when I hear his rendition. I come away from that song inspired. As I got older, I really began to appreciate that song more and what it truly means.

I can remember dad singing the lyrics to Elvis songs when he was in a good mood and just to entertain us he'd do a few Elvis moves that would make us laugh. He instilled in us an appreciation for the man and the music which I have to this day. Not only that, but his music reminds me of my childhood, the good times, and of course, dad.

Initially when I wanted to write my thoughts about the anniversary of Elvis's death, it was about paying tribute to the man and his music but then as I thought more about it, I realized this was more a tribute to my dad. Listening to Elvis's music conjures up thoughts and good times with dad. He was quite a presence and anyone who knew him would certainly agree. As it is with all of us, dad had his share of strengths and weaknesses but he did the best he could.

The day dad died, I wasn't ready...none of us were...but he was, of that I am certain. I didn't know it then but I came to realize it later. Looking back to the months and days leading up to it, I believe he knew it was his time. Don't ask me how he knew, he just did.

If anyone embodied the spirit of My Way, it was dad and so...on this day, instead of honoring Elvis, I'm going to honor my dad, who passed away in March 2009, just three days before his 63rd birthday.

Something tells me Elvis would be okay with that.

 And now, the end is near
And so I face the final curtain
My friend, I'll say it clear
I'll state my case, of which I'm certain
I've lived a life that's full
I traveled each and every highway
And more, much more than this, I did it my way

Regrets, I've had a few
But then again, too few to mention
I did what I had to do and saw it through without exemption
I planned each charted course, each careful step along the byway
And more, much more than this, I did it my way

Yes, there were times, I'm sure you knew
When I bit off more than I could chew
But through it all, when there was doubt
I ate it up and spit it out
I faced it all and I stood tall and did it my way

I've loved, I've laughed and cried
I've had my fill, my share of losing
And now, as tears subside, I find it all so amusing
To think I did all that
And may I say, not in a shy way
Oh, no, oh, no, not me, I did it my way

For what is a man, what has he got?
If not himself, then he has naught
To say the things he truly feels and not the words of one who kneels
The record shows I took the blows and did it my way

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