Glen Campbell died yesterday and it made my heart drop, but he’s free from Alzheimer’s and I can’t imagine what he’s singing up there in heaven. “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” is the first song I ever heard of his. It was hot summer, as it is now, and I remember my cousin Russ had come for a visit and brought along one of his college buddies named Bo, really straight guy, who had red hair cut like a Beatle’s and brown eyes. I took to Bo immediately; he was crazy, and fun, and kind in a not ho ho ho sort of way. He stayed overnight in Tim’s room with Russ, a room that boasted a twin bed and a sofa that pulled out into a bed. So the three guys were well bunked. When we all rose the next morning and were in the kitchen getting coffee, I was of the age that I kissed everyone good morning, including my brother (sometimes). I kissed, Mom, Tim, Russ but I stopped sat Bo, not so much that I didn’t like him enough to kiss him, just respected a stranger’s boundaries. He looked at me with those cow eyes, turned his cheek to me pointing at it. I was glad to give him a big kiss, and he folded his hands together and looked heavenward–it was so funny. But the connection to Bo and Glen Campbell is this: I thought Bo was a natural clown, so funny but that changed in a way when we were all in the car driving with the radio playing. “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” came on and Bo shushed everyone and turned the volume up. He sang only one verse with Glen, “but she’ll just hear that phone keep on ringing, off the wall..that’s all.”
Do you know, whenever I hear this song, I think of Bo, and summer, and laughter and before all of us really knew anything but youth.
Well, I just want to say, God bless you Glen Campbell, and thank you for all the enjoyment you brought for so many years.I’m sorry to see you go; there aren’t many, if any, left like you at all.