Sunset over Sequoia National Park

Tom Petty & My Sequoia Experience

My birthday was in August and we spent it camping in the Sequoias.  This is one of our family’s favorite places, due to the big trees, inspiring views and running rivers.  The week we were there it rained four afternoons in a row.  It is unusual to have thunderstorms that frequently (at least since we’ve been going there).

I was prepared for the incoming storm.  I had my rain jacket on, and cooked dinner on the camp stove as quickly as I could. Everything else possible was put away in expectation of another drenching.  The salad and drinks were already in the car.

After dinner was ready (chicken and rice in a Dutch oven), we ate in the car while listening to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.  I played all of my favorite tunes on CD:  Luna, A Woman in Love, Nightwatchman, Free Fallin, Strangered in the Night, You Don’t Know How It Feels.  I have quite a collection of his music.

The time spent in the car was my favorite moment of the whole week–eating with my family while listening to music in the downpour.  They had given me my birthday present which was tickets to see Tom Petty at the Hollywood Bowl.  I was really looking forward to going to the concert.  The first time I had tickets for a Tom Petty concert I ended up ill on the couch.  But I determinedly dragged myself to see the last of it.  I wanted to make up for the disappointment.

However, it wasn’t to be.  We had done quite a bit of hiking on this trip, and due to injury to both of my knees; I wasn’t able to walk after we got home.  I couldn’t even stand long enough to brush my teeth.  My husband was going out of town for a week, so I felt I had no choice but to use common sense and stay home.  Getting to the bowl would have been too much so I sacrificed our tickets to go see one of my rock-n-roll heroes.  This made me sad, but I wasn’t prepared for the worst that would happen the next week–his untimely death.

“You don’t know how it feels…to be real…”

“It’s good to be king and have your own way, get a feeling of peace at the end of the day…”

“Even the losers get lucky sometimes…”

Thank you Tom, for all the joy that you have given me over the years.  When you died, I felt like your #1 fan.  That is the first time I have sobbed when a musician died.  It really hit home, and I will always feel connected to you through your music.  You helped me in good times and bad.  I’m still not over you, but am healing and envision you in heaven playing your harmonica with the angels.  That thought brings me peace.  R.I.P.

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