Snap Shot #90 – Dear John


Dear John,

I have a fifteen-year-old son who, like many teenage boys, listens to rap (or as I call the current incarnation – ‘mumble rap’). These songs are of course littered with ‘F Bombs’, ‘MF Bombs’ and the ‘N word’ (“But Dad – it’s ok if they say it”). I hear these mumbled profanities through the bathroom door – that room being my son’s sanctuary. So you can imagine my shock when, one evening, I heard him singing along to a very different tune. “Almost heaven, West Virginia…” What the??? When questioned he claimed that this was his new favourite song and subsequently still enjoys belting out: “Country roads, take me home, to the place where I belong…”. Rather ironic for a city boy who has only ever known one home.  Hearing your song again with such regularity has stirred my own memories of you. Three stand out. The first hails back to the mid seventies when I was in in a car that happened to be on a country road as your hit blared through the radio. We may have even been travelling through Colorado (where there actually are roads that can “take me back to the place where I was born…”). It felt like a significant moment. A few years later I laughed as your gormless nice guy character saw God (the hilarious cigar sucking George Burns). But the most mind blowing moment occurred in the early nineties. I just got off a plane at Denver airport. And there you were. The first person I see in Denver happens to be Mr. Denver himself. What. Are. The. Chances??? You were probably there to fly one of your own planes, as you loved to do. Of course this memory came rushing back when I heard about your crash years later. It seemed such a waste. So, wherever you may be now (heaven – or “almost heaven”), perhaps sitting with your friend George (laughing at how much funnier he is than the real God), I hope it warms your heart to know that, all these years later, your music still resonates with at least one teenage city slicker.


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