Monthly Archives: January 2017

Nancy

Friends come and go in our lives. Often circumstance and distance pry us apart and, I must admit, I’m pretty lousy at keeping in touch.

Because a person is physically absent doesn’t mean they haven’t left an indelible imprint on our lives.

Nancy. Aside from being one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever met, Nancy was a gifted songwriter, voice-over artist and actress.  Hair-trigger laughter and sadness. She was never, not ever dull. A mutual friend once said that looking into her eyes was like staring into the sun. He had a crush on her. Everyone did. Her perma-rasp voice gave her a sultry ring of authority so that whatever she said sounded deep and true. Given that she held no punches, you could count on her to tell it to you straight. Blue eyes twinkling under perfectly disheveled, blond bangs; with a wink and a smile, you would buy whatever she was selling.

Nancy Montgomery age 21 - singing "Angel from Montgomery" at Jazmins - Ashland, OR

Nancy Montgomery age 21 – singing “Angel from Montgomery” at Jazmins – Ashland, OR

When her mother became ill, Nancy gave up her career and dedicated herself to caring for her, remaining by her side for quite some time until the end. Later when Nancy herself had health problems, I visited her in Nashville. We watched a lot of movies, messed around with makeup, went shopping, drank wine, played music and laughed until tears soaked our cheeks.

She moved to Chicago. Changed numbers. From time to time, out of the blue, she would reach out and give me a new number. Years went by. Once I became a mother, it simply became harder for me to find… make the time. Although I never stopped caring about her, our calls became rare and far apart. It happens. It just does. That’s life, we say.

Years ago I tried to reach out to the various phone numbers I had and none were viable. I finally tracked down a phone number for Nancy through a mutual friend and we talked for an hour.  She had just completed shooting a small part on a hit TV show and was pretty jazzed about reigniting her acting career.  The next time I tried to call that number, it didn’t work, nor did the email address she had given me. This wasn’t uncommon in my experience with Nancy.  She was a restless soul.

I always knew we’d catch up.

In recent years, I have tried to track her down online, on Facebook and Google, but never found a trace of her. I’m not sure why I searched again today. But, today I found her.

Nancy Montgomery, April 2015

nancy

My heart aches that I wasn’t there for her, not that she needed me.  She was such a charismatic, loving, complicated, talented woman, I have no doubt she was surrounded by love.

She didn’t need me, but when I needed her, she was there for me many times and I leaned on her heavily as a young woman and a budding singer/songwriter at the time we met.  Even as the years passed and my musical aspirations faded, she always gave me a boost and told me that my music had value, whether or not I ever earned a cent from it.

She was beautiful, loving, intense and just a little dangerous. I am not sure that I ever told her how much she meant to me. I hope she knew. The impact she had on so many people. Learning of her passing is just another painful reminder that we don’t always get another chance to say the things we want to say to the people we love.

Say it now.

I love you, Nancy. Thank you.

Uncomfortably Numb

Writing has always been a part of me.  Since childhood, I can count on a few fingers the number of times when my creative well ran bone-dry.

I would never intentionally trivialize the devastating loss of my mother and the crushing impact it had on me. After she died, I was emotionally bludgeoned into a creative silence that lasted years. Too broken to write.

I am, therefore, reluctant to admit that I find myself in a similar place, at least creatively speaking, following this election.  Looking down the barrel of inauguration day, I feel stunned into a sort of stupor. When the unthinkable happens, words are lost. I feel lost.

A political person I am not. You won’t hear me expounding on foreign policy, economics or the antics of our Congress. To be truthful, most of my friends understand these things far better than I do. To me, presidential politics was always the same old cronies, Yale, blah, blah, campaign finance, blah, blah, lower taxes, raise taxes, blah, blah, blah.  I have always leaned well to the left, but my cynicism was very much front and center.

Voting for the first African-American president, however, was one of the most joyous, proud moments of my life. The most engaged I have ever felt by anything remotely “political.” Obama was everything I could possibly hope for in a president and a leader and my cynicism was temporarily forgotten. A role model.  For all the public scrutiny he endured, decent and dedicated to a fault, he is someone we can all look up to. Not perfection achieved; but certainly excellence.

Now here we are.  Donald Trump.  Did America willingly, knowingly elect a reality TV star, philandering, self-aggrandizing real estate mogul to the most powerful position in the White House? That guy with the hair and the highly inappropriate, albeit entertaining, discourse? Marla Maples dude? I’d date my daughter guy? As a nation we took a giant leap forward and twenty mammoth skids backward. I want to find it all amusing, but I fail to see the humor. I am stunned and shaken. Still. Mourning.

While my creativity may have been temporarily stripped away, my ability to act has not. This coming weekend I am heading to Washington DC to protest, I don’t even know what. Yes, again, I am being honest. I am part of the problem. The disengaged, ill-informed, well-meaning side-liner. Perhaps I have been numb far longer than I care to admit. A bubble-dweller. I hope I can do better.

Donald Trump being the president of the United States of America at a time (any time) when we need strong, authentic, stable leadership is so, so wrong. I am not a Christian, but come on Christians! This man has the moral fiber of a dung fly. I know God has a purpose for all his creatures, but surely he never meant for “The Donald” to follow in the footsteps of Lincoln, Washington, the Roosevelts, Jefferson, Kennedy, Obama or even Bush (senior, please).

By marching, I want Trump to know that I’m not buying what he’s selling and I want to stand shoulder to shoulder with others who feel the same way.

Today we honored Martin Luther King, Jr.  A man who gave his life for his principles.

With all my heart I am hoping that by taking action, the numbness, shock and sadness I feel will be galvanized into something hopeful again. At least I could write this much.

God help America.

Scratch that.

Let’s help ourselves.




<