I’ll always remember Dec. 8, 1980, and thanks to Google, I now know that Dec. 8 was on a Monday of that year. That means “M.A.S.H.” was on TV that night.
But I didn’t see “M.A.S.H.” that night. It was my dad’s birthday and after dinner and birthday cake, we decided to go to Wal-Mart for some reason.
When you grow up in Aberdeen, Mississippi, you go to Wal-Mart with your parents every chance you get. I don’t know why we were going that night. I know it wasn’t to get me a new “Star Wars” action figure as was the case many times when my dad would take me to the store.
He was a kind man and he knew I loved “Star Wars” figures and he would randomly take me to Wal-Mart to get me a Luke Skywalker or a Darth Vader. I mean, they were only $2.78 or less in those days.
But this was two weeks before Christmas, so I know it wasn’t for a toy.
As much as I loved “Star Wars,” I also loved music. This Christmas of 1980 was the year I would get the jumbo Yoda hand puppet and a turntable with The Eagles’ “The Long Run” album. I had a small record player that I used to listen to my 45s. One of those 45s was “(Just Like) Starting Over” by John Lennon.
I was a young Beatles fan. I loved Wings and I had a few Beatles 45s that I nabbed from parents. I loved John Lennon, too.
We were coming home from Wal-Mart when DJ “Happy” Butch Luke broke the news on WHKW — John Lennon had been shot and killed outside his apartment in New York.
There was silence in the car. My dad didn’t say a word and neither did I, but I know we both were feeling. Someone had just murdered John Lennon. He was gone. One of The Beatles — the one who sang “All You Need is Love” — had met a violent end.
And then one day, my dad was gone. He died in 2003 at age 56, which is only 10 years older than I am today. On Dec. 8, 2016, today, he would have been 70. Dec. 8 became an especially sad day for me.
But things in life change. On Dec. 8, 2014, my son was born. He, too, likes The Beatles. I’ve spent a lot of time over the two years of his life telling him about his grandfather and John Lennon and how his world is connected to them.
I guess I’ll always be somewhat reflective on Dec. 8.