Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Girl, I'm Gonna Miss You

Listening to Casey Casem’s Top 40 countdown on the fourth of July in 1988, with a six-pack of Sharp’s near beer on the passenger side seat, I drove the back roads of Alabama in search of meaning to a fledgling life. Through tree-lined streets strewn with American flags, I threw empty beer bottle after empty bottle out the driver’s side window, trying to hit telephone poles. It was the south and I wearing a hat that said “American by Birth, Southern by Choice.” I was playing the part of ugly American on her birthday. And playing it to a “T.”

Nearing Fort Wayne, Arkansas, Casey announced the number one song in America. As with tradition, he read a letter from a listener before playing the song. The letter was from Gina Trifletti from Akron, Ohio:

“Casey, a year ago I lost my daughter to cancer. In the year after her death, there have been many times I thought I couldn’t go on - suicide was always on my mind. I quit my job, alienated my friends and didn’t go out of the house. “

“Last week,” she continued. “I was vacuuming the living room when a song on the radio grabbed my attention. I sat down and listened to the lyrics of the song and started to cry:

“Like a honey bee, you took the best of me. Now I can't erase those memories...I’m gonna miss you. Girl, I’m gonna miss you.”

“I opened the cutains and the healing process begun,” she said.

“And there you have it,” Casey said. “The number one song in America: Girl, I’m gonna miss you by Milli Vanilli.”

Like young lovers dancing to Open Arms by Journey, it was both touching and pitiful.

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