It was back in the early seventies when a friend gave me a couple of Harry’s albums for Christmas. I didn’t pay them much attention at first. You know how you get presents from other people and their tastes don’t exactly match yours.
Well, I had a lot going on in my life at the time and needless to say that the albums went basically un-played for a year or so. Then in the mist of a crumbling marriage, severe depression and extreme loneliness I started to play and listen to Harry’s songs. I found that his music gave me new hope and inspiration as well as a new discovery of myself among the spiralling decay of my existence.
I first met Harry at his second concert here in Dallas at the Palladium. I saw him at another concert at the Music Hall at the State Fair grounds but with over three thousand people all crowding in to meet him I didn’t get a chance. When I finally did get the chance to talk to him, I found him charming, witty and extremely genuine.
I always purchased tickets to both shows whenever he played here and managed to get the best seats available. He would always smile down at me from the stage, seemingly to recognize me from the other concerts. I thought that he was just being kind at first, but when he would remember a conversation from months past, I knew that he did indeed remember me.
Of course at that time in my life I was a real mess. Drinking too much and smoking all kinds of things. A real wreck. Not too hard to remember a wreck when it crashes into you. Still, Harry always took the time to listen and discuss those issues that mattered to both of us and I always felt a connection between us.
I know that it was probably that same feeling that most fans felt, however I had a terrible crush on him. I never missed a concert when he played here and wouldn’t miss the opportunity to talk to him. I remember the last time that I saw Harry. He was getting into an older Cadillac convertible that I’m sure was loaned to him at the time. It was parked underneath the club and he was getting ready to leave after a double concert at Yorick’s. I was with my best friend, roommate and sister and we had just sat through both concerts. I was in a hurry to get my terminally ill sister home. I just yelled “Harry, we love you”, and went on.
That was just a few weeks before he lost his life in Jerico. How I wish that I had stopped to talk with him again. I wonder if he knew how much people really loved him and how he had an impact on the people he met. I hope that he knew that his stories related to so many people.
I have many regrets in my life. I am the last of a family of six. Seven including Harry. Of all of the losses in my life, it seems that it’s always the thing that you didn’t get a chance to say that one regrets. I received a video today of one of Harry’s last performances. The Only Song Video. It filled me with joy, but it also made me cry.
So, I’ll end this by saying what I should have said to Harry the last time that I saw him. I love you Harry. We all love you. Safe travels and hopefully we will all be together again. “All My Life’s A Circle”.
May God Bless You and Keep You. For all those good deeds that you did, both big and small.
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