On a recent morning walk I was heading down Cottage Street, the sun streaming warmly through the still bare branches of the trees, anticipating spring budding, but not there yet, and I was struck by a sudden pang of missing Ken. Welling up from somewhere inside me, it was nearly compusure-shattering. I continued walking with the sun a comfort on my face. I even closed my eyes for a succession of strides. I didn’t wonder long about why Ken appeared to me then. I could trace it to my preceding thoughts about some new CDs I was due to write about that day. A walk always provides ample chance for my thoughts to freely roam through critical perceptions with unexpected perspectives and realizations, quite different from those that occur while I sit at my desk. Suddenly thinking about Ken wasn’t about shaping the review I was to write, it was wishing he could have heard the music, too. It was wanting to watch him take it all in, hearing what he had to say about it. Generally I know what he’d have said, anything from “Go, man, go!” to “This takes me out to the desert in Arizona” or “I hear music like this when I go into one of my spells” (spells being his word for the seizures he was prone to).
Ken died in 1984. This man who I was fortunate enough to meet and become friends with at the end of his life, has been very much a part of my life ever since. He is forever attached to my musical perceptions. His emotional connection to music taught me how to write reviews, but it was his sense of connectedness to other people that will put me in good stead when my own end nears.