Last Christmas, Gideon and I gifted my mom and nana tickets to see Elton John. The concert was scheduled for June and all four of us were going to go. They were ecstatic when they opened the homemade tickets, which Gideon created with construction paper and the clever use of scissors. In the age of digital tickets, it was certainly our most colorful option.
I was so excited about the gift, because it was the first really expensive gift we ever gave anyone. We were finally in a good spot financially after years of struggling. Mom and Nana both supported us when times were tough, often sending nonperishable food or toiletries through the mail. We wanted to thank them the best way we knew how. Mom had seen Elton John when he played a tour with Billy Joel, so it was really a no-brainer.
Music is a big deal in my family. I grew up listening to Willie Nelson, and not just the popular stuff. My nana was a bit of a groupie back in the í70s, í80s and í90s. She attended Willieís Fourth of July music festival several times; one year, she told him it was her birthday and he gave her the shirt off his back. She still has it, never washed, as it should be.
The Shotgun Willie album remains my favorite to this day. All the tracks are fantastic but my favorite is Sad Songs and Waltzes. I have loved that song from the moment I heard it. Momís favorite is So Much to Do, and Nanaís favorite is on another album. Her favorite Willie album might surprise you if youíre well-versed in outlaw country. She loves Stardust, the album where Willie covers popular songs from decades earlier like Blue Skies, Unchained Melody and All of Me. Itís different from much of his work in that time period ó dazzling, calming and somehow familiar.
Weíre big on Willie but heís one of many artists I grew up listening to. Mom loves all kinds of music, so I have memories of listening to Poison, George Strait, Hall & Oates and Roger Miller. Last year, I mentioned that I love Poisonís greatest hits album and my wonderful boss Scott Loftis said Poison doesnít have enough noteworthy singles for such an album. I respectfully and vehemently disagree with that, Scott.
Seeing Poison live is on my bucket list, and so is seeing Elton John perform. Both Nana and Gideon had never been to an Elton John concert. We were all looking forward to seeing him this June, but thatís not going to happen because of COVID-19. When we got the news that Elton John had postponed all his shows until 2021, I felt a little sad. By then, weíd had nearly five months of building excitement.
While I know this pandemic is not about me, I definitely felt that way for a split second. Honestly, Iím a little ashamed to write that. People are dying and Iím upset that I wonít be seeing Elton John this year? It seems awfully selfish, but itís human nature. I know Iím not alone in feeling that way. The pandemic has canceled so many events. It has changed so many plans.
High school graduation, prom, Easter dinner, anniversary parties and birthday parties are just a handful of anticipated events that wonít be happening this year. Some people are optimistic that these events will eventually come together, but Iím not so sure. Itís hard to tell whatís going to happen during a pandemic. I stopped trying to predict the outcome weeks ago, despite the deep urge to regain some control over the situation.
Thatís the thing. The only people who have control in this situation work in the government, and everybody seems to have a different idea of how to move forward. Iíll be honest ó it just plain sucks to have your big events canceled and to see all your plans change in the blink of an eye. It can make you feel a little helpless.
Instead of embracing that feeling, Iím trying to accept the situation for what it is. Sure, we wonít be seeing Elton John until sometime in 2021, assuming the concert still happens at all. We wonít be visiting my family over the summer the way we usually do, and we wonít be cheering on Gideonís students at end-of-the-year ceremonies. Life isnít normal right now and thatís OK.
Humans are blessed with the ability to adapt. Thatís how we survive worldwide and personal disasters, and itís how we will survive this pandemic, too. To those of you who are struggling with changing plans and societal expectations, I feel you.
Itís a tough time for everyone, but we will adapt. We will survive.