Nobody told me there’d be days like these

Posted by Ken Campbell December 8, 2010 0 Comment 815 views

I remember where I was: me and my buddy Craig Johnson were on our way back from Mexico. We’d gone to Tijuana to buy a load of sweaters, blankets, ponchos and pottery as Christmas presents, having taken orders from friends and family for the items and then negotiating bulk deals in the market south of the border. We thought ourselves to be quite the businessmen, buying low and selling, if not high, at least higher. Not only were we going to make enough to pay for our gas from Santa Barbara and back, but we’d have enough for a hotel room and a pizza to boot.

It was 30 years ago today. We were in our room at the downtown Holiday Inn in San Diego, finishing our pizza and watching the end of Monday Night Football, when we got the news that John Lennon had been shot. I remember it being a sobering moment when Howard Cosell made the comment about some things being more important than a football game. I remember too, that it hit Craig harder than it did me – he was more astute musically than I was – and although I knew that something bad had just happened, I just didn’t conceive of how truly horrible it was until later.

Now, with the benefit of knowing how the next three decades would turn out, I see that moment for what it was and I feel the loss as much now as I should have felt it then. I was 18, I figured I would live forever, and I didn’t have the emotional maturity to realize that something so unique, someone so valuable, could be taken away so mindlessly. So easily.

It is so much easier to destroy than it is to create.

I have other things I’d like to write about. There’s a story about Mount Rainier that has jumped out at me lately, about access and roads, flooding and money, the future of the mountain as it relates to visitors. This, however, isn’t the time. I’m going to put on some John Lennon tunes, drink a beer and get dinner on the go.

Strange days indeed.

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