Bringing It All Back Home

Bringing It All Back Home — as seen on the CHIRP site.

It’s a weird thing to sit around and plan your funeral. I can’t imagine I’m the only one that’s ever done it; in fact, I know I’m not the only one who sits and thinks of these things. However, I know it’s not the most casual of thoughts for most people. But one night during college, we were all sitting around and it must have come up and I was expounding on the subject, saying how I definitely wanted a New Orleans-style brass band parade.

I’m sitting in the railway station.
Got a ticket for my destination.
On a tour of one-night stands my suitcase and guitar in hand.
And ev’ry stop is neatly planned for a poet and a one-man band.

I also threw in that I’d like Simon and Garfunkel’s “Homeward Bound” to be played at some point during the service. My friends, Dave and Joel, piped up and said that not only would they see to it that my request was carried out, but that they personally would sing it themselves. Although, Joel said he’d be singing the Simon/George Harrison version they did live on Saturday Night Live in 1976.

Homeward bound,
I wish I was,
Homeward bound,
Home where my thought’s escaping,
Home where my music’s playing,
Home where my love lies waiting
Silently for me.

Fine by me, I said. I was actually pretty honored and touched that my friends were so quick to jump to my aid and volunteer to do me such a noble deed. Especially since neither of one of them were musicians or anything. It meant something in that moment; it seemed like some sort of friendship cement was being laid down — for all the good making promises over a potential future funeral are worth.

But it would come up from time to time as the years passed, and we’d laugh about it and I’d sort of roll my eyes at my younger self and wonder what kind of idea that was in the first place. But Dave and Joel always got very serious at the mention of it and promised yet again that they would, in fact, still show up and sing this for my hopefully unforeseeable demise.

Ev’ry day’s an endless stream
Of cigarettes and magazines.
And each town looks the same to me, the movies and the factories
And ev’ry stranger’s face I see reminds me that I long to be

Years and years have passed now, and the three of us don’t really see one another or really talk so much anymore. Things happen, people change, lives grow apart. If it comes to the point where this needs to happen, honestly, I’m not going to be around to do the asking. And I guess I’m old enough to start thinking about some sort of will or something. I don’t have any real possessions to pass down or give away, but I suppose it would be worth it to at least outline to my parents or friends, “Hey, it’s okay if these guys sing this song at my funeral. Seriously.”

Homeward bound,
I wish I was,
Homeward bound,
Home where my thought’s escaping,
Home where my music’s playing,
Home where my love lies waiting
Silently for me.

I mention this because those are the kinds of things that get cemented in your mind forever, that never leave you even when the people shift out of your life. These are the kinds of memories that will never fade. Every time I hear that song, I will always think of Dave and Joel and their promise made during a late-night conversation about life and death, made when we were too young to know much about either. It is the power of music that intoxicates me and always leads me back to the places where I first found it — the radio.


Tonight I’ll sing my songs again,
I’ll play the game and pretend.
But all my words come back to me in shades of mediocrity
Like emptiness in harmony I need someone to comfort me.

It was the radio in my father’s car, playing the oldies. It was the radio in my room, trying to catch my favorite songs exactly at the right time so I could tape them from start to finish. It was the radio station at college, and the new friends I made, who taught me about life and love and the pursuit of new music. It was the years and years of driving around in all sorts of cars on all sorts of roads in all sorts of weather, having endless conversations and calming the tempest that is my mind — all to the soundtrack of the radio.

Homeward bound,
I wish I was,
Homeward bound,
Home where my thought’s escaping,
Home where my music’s playing,
Home where my love lies waiting
Silently for me.
Silently for me.

It’s good to have another place to be a part of that. It’s wonderful to have another radio home. I am looking forward to sharing CHIRP with Chicago and with the world so everyone else can feel at home with us, too. So we can all exchange ideas and new music and have a place to discuss our community and our world. I can’t wait until we’re live on air with something alive and exciting in Chicago that’s creative and inspiring — something for everyone to hear.

I’m nowhere near dead, but I definitely feel like I’m coming home.

“Homeward Bound,” — Simon and Garfunkel, ‘Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme’

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