Maybe You'll Think Of Me And Smile

 “Sometimes when you're doin' simple things around the house
Maybe you'll think of me and smile
You know I'm tied to you like the buttons on your blouse
Keep me in your heart for a while”

--Warren Zevon from his 2003 album The Wind.

When Charlotte and I met in 1989 I was struggling to find a path in the world. Charlotte was kind and smart and beautiful and she seemed to have a personality that could help steady me a bit.

When you're first dating someone you learn a lot about them right away. It’s fun to learn about their family, their job and the kind of music they like. Charlotte was younger then me and liked a lot of early 1980s bands. My musical tastes skewed older but there was a lot of overlap in what we enjoyed.

There was a singer-songwriter we both liked. I was really happy to find out she liked him too. It was Warren Zevon whose biggest hit was 1978’s “Werewolves of London”.  Some people dislike his songs because of his sometimes dark and strange lyrics but Charlotte and I instantly bonded over our love for his music. Throughout the 1990s Zevon appeared numerous times on David Letterman’s show, even sitting in as bandleader once when Paul Shaffer was away on a movie shoot. Every time Zevon was on, we were sure to tune in.

In August 2002 Zevon was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma, an inoperable form of lung cancer. Charlotte and I were watching Letterman on October 30, 2002 when Zevon talked about his cancer diagnosis in an emotional and poignant last appearance. He said, “I might have made a tactical error in not going to a physician for 20 years. It was one of those phobias that really didn’t pay off.”  Zevon said after getting a terminal diagnosis he put more value on every minute. In what is now a legendary statement he said, “You’re reminded to enjoy every sandwich.”

Charlotte didn't have a phobia of doctors. She just didn’t like seeing doctors. She would go to the doctor when she absolutely needed to but would avoid it if she could. It was a painful and repulsive coincidence that both Warren Zevon and Charlotte would learn too late they were dying of cancer.

Upon learning of his cancer diagnosis, Zevon became determined to record a final album. He recorded The Wind, with guest stars Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, Don Henley, Ry Cooder, Dwight Yoakam, Jackson Browne, Emmylou Harris, Joe Walsh and many others. The album was released on August 26, 2003, just two weeks before his death, twenty years ago on September 7, 2003.

The Wind won a 2004 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album and a Grammy for Best Rock Vocal Performance for the song  "Disorder In The House".

"Keep Me In Your Heart" from the album was nominated for song of the year. It was the only song Charlotte specifically requested to be played at her funeral. I'm keeping both Charlotte and Warren Zevon in my heart today and everyday. 

Learn More –

Warren Zevon on Wikipedia

The Wind on Wikipedia

Warren Zevon's last appearance on The Late Show

Warren Zevon performs "Keep Me In Your Heart"


Tales from Daytona

I attended the 61st running of the Rolex 24 Race at Daytona International Speedway in Florida from January 25 through the 29th. It's a sports car race and one of the few 24 hour auto races in the world. 

On the Wednesday before the race things are just getting set up and there's not a lot of spectators at the track this early. I ran into a couple of older folks "working the gates" and they had a lot to talk about because they were bored and lonely.

I talked to a lady, she looked to be in her late 60s or early 70s. She was at the head of the stairs going to the pedestrian tunnel to the infield on the west end of the track.

She told me her son died of heart failure in the previous week. He lived in Brooklyn, New York and got COVID in that first deadly wave in March 2020 that hit New York City so hard.  She said he was hospitalized for months.  As a result, he had kidney failure and then kidney disease that was so bad he needed weekly dialysis. As she was telling me this she started to tear up a little and I tried to comfort her. 

He was just an unfortunate guy who got COVID in that very first wave before vaccines and even before hospitals knew how to really treat the disease. It sounded like maybe he suffered a lot and died young, although she didn't say how old he was. She said she was scheduled to work the Rolex 24 months ago and wasn't sure if she could do it after her son died. She had to talk it over with her other kids and they decided it might be good for her to work. "You know, get your mind off of it", she said.

She was sitting there alone and to kill time she was putting together a jigsaw puzzle. There were some pieces missing. She was using the picture of the puzzle on the box to somehow recreate the missing pieces. I've never seen that before and it was actually quite cleaver.