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passing through b/w a cab rolls through philadelphia…George Harrison

passing through b/w a cab rolls through philadelphia

the road...
it's a blur and the sound of tires on the highway
but life goes on beyond the suspended time and dates of the tour
and so i am in philadelphia,
where lee ann womack kicked off her christmas tour
with no less than the duke ellington riding shotgun

it is morning, too early
not yet light
but i am concerned about security
and making sure i make my flight
not even certain when i stepped out of my hotel
i'd find a cab
because there was just no traffic

fate smiled
a car pulled up...
and i visited with a philly native
who'd turned his life over to maharj ji
the same indian guru that jimmy dale gilmore follows
when he found out i was in "the music business,"
he turned around
"i have some sad news...." he began, tentatively
"george harrison died in the middle of the night."

now i believe the world is divided into two camps
beatles people and stones people
and in the interest of fair play and full disclosure i'm probably the latter
but that doesn't mean this won't go down in my mind's eye
in the pantheon of where-i-was-when-i-heard
along with on my tummy, doing my alegbra in the pepto-pink bedroom when 'mms
broke in with the news that lynyrd skynyrd's plane had gone down
on my bed, wrestling with chinese history in the lemon and lime bedroom of
boynton beach, florida when my father came in with the "this has just been on
television... they've gunned down one of your generation's heros"
struggling back to consciousness in a soon-to-be-boyfriend's place when, upon
picking up 19 messages all expressing their grief and concern -- and finally
getting cnn on, i learned that my dear sam kinison was gone

and now,
george harrison
the quiet one
the spiritual one
the mystical one
the wilbury, damn it
57 -- and it's all over

what of those left behind
the people for whom"something" was a song hummed almost without KNOWING
those of us who know harrison in only iconic terms
or the personal refractions that come from seeing him through the facets of
our own life experience...
it begs taking that moment to ask "what does this man? this music? this
cultural phenomenon meant to me?"

i remember a friend bringing "eleanor rigby" down the street
so i could hear it on my parents hi-fi
remember watching that little green apple spin, almost hypnotizing me
remember the notion that a frothy little hook could contain a pretty dark
and i remember thinking, "THIS is the enemy?"
for while i'd missed "the ed sullivan show," the cultural war was on
hair was getting long, patchouli was being worn, baths were being skipped
and the status quo was being topped
it was a scary time for middle america --
and while the stones were much darker, much more satanic --
it was the sweet-faced beatles formerly of the matching suits and "yeah
yeah"s who were supposed to hold the line of common human decency
only "LOOK at them..."
they betrayed the grown masses, who wanted things to stay constant
but they opened up a whole new world, a whole new perspective
and if all the changes wrought weren't perfect, they brought us tolerance and
not that i understood it on that level
i just knew my baby sitters were getting progressively groovier
and when you're a good girl in shaker heights, ohio,
the peasant blouses, bell bottom corduroys, long straight hair were
and music seemed to be the instrument and inspiration for it all
indeed, catalyzing what would become a movement that WOULD ultimately
set me free
WOULD ultimately bring me here

to the back of a cab in philadelphia
where the streets fall away
as the airport comes closer
so i can go home and meet with more people,
churn more moments, make more arguments, offer more counterpoints
knowing, though, that it will all be gone
and then what?

will any of my clients impact lives the way george harrison did?
who's to say...
and perhaps on a smaller scale, they already have
maybe they won't change the world
but last night, there were several young girls dressed up for a big night out
seeing the duke ellington orchestra, seeing lee ann in the name of "i hope
you dance" -- and they may look deeper, farther, beyond because of a song

it's a limited world
you come in
you go out
hopefully, you live it with a passion
and you experience it fully
what you believe is what guides you
what you leave behind is the lives that you've changed for better or worse
in a year of the unthinkable (9/11, anyone?) and the personal (finally
looking at my father's grave), i roll towards the holidays with clarity
live now
live out loud
make a difference for whomever you can

i don't know if george harrison were that over about it all
but he was a quiet witness to that truth
he knew that talking and doing were not the same
and that may be why, keith richards girl that i am, i am sitting quiet and
black irish mourning a man who's gone too soon, but according to the plan

personal passages tied up in people we'll never know
it's one of the things that drives us...and it's certainly something that
shaped me
think about that as the beatles music becomes the new aor white noise
and remember what made them great beyond the hooks
help those who don't get it get there
celebrate the poetry and dignity and passion he embodied
don't forget that it's all happening... right now... no matter wherever you


-- Holly Gleason

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