I must admit I took Harry for granted. I was 17 when I went to my first Harry Chapin concert. It went on for four hours, and I left feeling I needed to hear more. But I knew I’d see Harry the next time he came through Phoenix. And I did get to see him one more time two years later.
What’s weird is I saved the programs from those two concerts. I never save anything. No one could ever accuse me of being nostalgic. But for some reason I saved those programs and have read them many times through the years.
The day Harry died I was working as a reporter for a small daily newspaper in Arizona. I came home for a late lunch and my girlfriend (and now my wife) called me. She told me the news had just come over the radio about the car accident.
The rest of the afternoon was a blur as I prepared for a photography assignment. I was scheduled to take pictures of the lunar eclipse that evening. I drove out into the desert far from the city lights to set up. The news about Harry kept being repeated as I sat alone in the desert staring up at the sky watching the moon slowly disappear. Just like Harry.
After I finished the photo shoot, I drove back to the office and wrote a tribute to Harry that appeared in paper the following Sunday. I never kept a copy. Perhaps I just wanted to leave that horrible night behind me. Maybe I knew it wouldn’t do any good to keep dwelling on Harry’s death.
Besides, I have those two concert programs and a bunch of great memories. I think that’s what Harry would want me to remember.
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