I wrote on twitter that I was drinking a margarita and listening to sad Christmas songs. That is true. I also was listening to sad songs in general as well after a meander that started with the 1000th time listening to “Feliz Navidad” on the Home Pod. It reminded me of Freddy Fender and “When The Next Tear Drop Falls”, a song I had encountered by reading the excellent Stereogum column Number Ones about a year back. I was reminded of the English/Spanish lyrics and I was sitting at the table with the MGN Spawn and figured that would be next on the list.
I played it. I played the various versions of it — Dolly Parton’s is great, so is Al Green’s — including a live version for my youngest daughter who requested it. I then added a few more Freddy Fender songs including “Wasted Days and Wasted Nights” which is also great, and also has a few covers — I don’t hate LeAnn Rimes’ — and that’s about when I was ready to tweet. By then I was drinking a margarita, and I had changed the playlist to add some Freddy Fender’s Christmas album songs — they aren’t really that great, but after so many holiday songs you just kind of want someone else to sing Blue Christmas — and also mixed in that George Jones song — via LeeAnn Rimes when my phone and Home Pod got in a weird out-of-sync thing — and I got a little teary-eyed listening to my daughter sing that song.
Then I read about Grant Wahl and his sudden death on twitter and was shocked. I’ll leave aside his brother’s suspicions — not altogether unreasonable — and say that it gave me more perspective. Wahl was a journalist that I very much respected and have respected for the 20 or so years I have known of him. I subscribed to Sports Illustrated, the actual paper magazine back in the days he was there and was paying the fee to get his newsletter.
I had read his dispatch from Qatar around lunch time before firing off my own hot takes on twitter about the World Cup and whatnot. His last tweet was about the Netherlands scoring on a set piece. I had just called over to my wife so she could watch the replay of that goal — great — and thinking about all that now I am reminded of how precious all of life is.
Last Friday I was in San Antonio for the CUSA title game. My wife didn’t want me to go, but I wanted to be there in case UNT pulled off the miracle and also I wanted to cover the game in person. I got to see my brother and mom, and sister-in-law and niece and friends. It was a good time. I think about all of that now — watching the goal with my wife in our home office, listening to music with my three kids and singing along with them to 40-year old songs.
I am mostly shocked. The guy was only 48. I didn’t know what to do with the news or anything for about an hour and all I can do is be thankful for what I have, I suppose. That’s a start. I can — and we can — make sure that people are cared for, and taken care of and brought back home from prisons abroad and domestic or what have you. We can fight against injustice and hate and all those things that the best of us do. I don’t know what that means for you, and I don’t mean to preach at you. At the very least just appreciate the people you have, because it won’t be that way forever.
I once saw a penny on the ground, and almost didn’t pick it up. My mom said something like Its a test. If you don’t pick up the penny God gave you then. Why would he give you more? That little guilt-trip has stayed with me since. MGN is not TexAgs or an SBNation Blog or anything like that. The audience my be a penny-worth. I gladly put you in my pocket. So to speak. For those of you who read and subscribe and listen to the podcast — I appreciate it. I think those little human connections are valuable and not to be taken lightly.
We only have what we have, folks. Don’t waste the precious time in your hands.