Crane’s Corner, News and Comment.

One of the few things you can count on in this life is that sooner or later it will end. We all learn this lesson early and usually with a lot of tears. Grandma leaves us. Or our pet. Maybe a good friend gets sick or hurt in an accident.

We grieve and we move on, because death turns us all into Scarlett O’Hara. We’ll think about that tomorrow, or if we’re lucky, never again. Then you reach a certain age, and like it or not, death starts elbowing into your thought pattern. Your forget that Aunts, Uncles, your parents friends, sadly your parents too, are older. Do the math and it’s logical, but when those folks have been in your life for so long, it’s hard to let go. Reach that certain age, oh maybe north of 50, and even your inner Scarlett O’Hara can’t put the Grim Reaper into the Tomorrow File.

It hit me the other day when I heard that Aretha Franklin had stepped out of here. Aretha?! Last Sunday morning, I opened the Tasting Room at a winery where I pull occasional duty and started blasting Aretha Franklin’s Greatest Hits. I paid her some R-E-S-P-E-C-T and caught the next train to Nostalgia. I forgot how many hits she really had and how those songs had become a soundtrack that blended into my life. Some reminded me of a certain time, a certain person or a certain movie and it struck me that while I may not have been the biggest fan of Lady Soul, her music was so evocative of our times.

In that next hour before the thirsty came calling for Zin and Syrah it occured to me that my weird music taste profile was about 75 percent DOA. Frank and Sammy and Dean. Waylon Jennings and Patsy Cline. Buried Beach Boys and Beatles and fewer Allman Brothers. RIP Pavarotti and Basie and Orbison. The list goes on. They may not be on the fast track to sainthood. Some were truly flawed. But everyone of them left us a legacy. Music that will be played till our own lights go out.

What about the rest of us? If we don’t hit the charts, will we leave a mark? I think we can. By calling time out and making some halftime adjustments. Do we treat people the right way? If we’re really comfortable can we write more checks to make others less needy? Do we get the old Irish saying that “the shroud has no pockets”?

Red Smith, the great sportswriter who lived into his 80’s, was asked by a younger colleague what he had learned on life’s journey.

“Death is no big deal, the least of us will manage that. It’s living that’s the trick.”

If we touch one life or many before the clock runs out, we can check the success box. No one will blast our hits through the speakers, but we can treasure something neither money nor fame can buy. Self R-E-S-P-E-C-T.