Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Remembering 25

Recently my beautiful niece Jennifer celebrated her 25th birthday. I've known Jennifer since she was a teenager when I married her uncle and I've enjoyed watching her grow into the accomplished and lovely woman she is. For her birthday we celebrated with a family dinner and Jennifer shared news of her job promotion and life as a single gal in the City. As I took pictures of Jennifer blowing out the candles on her cake I couldn't help remembering my 25th birthday which felt like it was yesterday.

There are only a handful of birthdays that I can remember vividly. 25 is one of them. There is a particular song that reminds me of my 25th birthday and every time I hear it, I am transported back to that day. I heard the song this morning on the radio and instantly I was 25 again. The song is Blind Melon's No Rain and it reminds me of my birthday for an unusual reason.

I was in New Orleans to celebrate my 25th birthday. My boyfriend at the time had surprised me with a last minute trip to one of our favorite cities where we would spend a few days listening to music, wandering the cemeteries making grave rubbings and taking haunted walking tours. Shortly before midnight on the evening of my birthday we were wandering through the French Quarter and approached St. Louis Cathedral were there were a few young men sitting outside the gates playing guitar. They told us they were in town to see Blind Melon who were to play a show that night at a nearby venue. The concert had been cancelled because a few hours earlier before the band took the stage the lead singer Shannon Hoon was found dead of a drug overdose, he was 28. At the time, Blind Melon was a popular band and their famous "Bee Girl" music video for No Rain was all over MTV. Shannon Hoon's death would be big news once the word got out.

So we sat there on the steps of the St. Louis Cathedral with these sad boys who played their guitar and mourned a lost musician. My boyfriend was a musician and he played their guitar for awhile and we talked...wondering how for some, life can end so young. And then at midnight, they sang me Happy Birthday.

15 years later I can still remember that night like it was 15 minutes ago. And I always think of New Orleans and being young when I hear the song No Rain. If you haven't seen the video, it's worth a watch, it's charming. No Rain by Blind Melon.

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