Flashback to Christmas 1995: At 17, I was going through my first real break-up. It was soul-crushing because, well, I was a teenager with untreated depression and anxiety. My parents tried everything to shake me out of my melancholy. It didn’t really happen until I left for college the next summer. Ahh, young Goth love…or something.
Anyway, one of the ways they tried to distract me from my sunken love life was with new music. At Christmas, I was given a host of CDs and cassettes. Yes, in 1995, I still listened to cassettes pretty routinely. I unwrapped one stuffed in my Garfield stocking:
The Geraldine Fibbers were part of the later wave of bands coming out of the Pacific Northwest. What made them interesting was their liberal use of the fiddle. My Dad had “heard them this one time on ‘120 Minutes'” and wanted to see if I liked them. He’d often hear bands “this one time on ‘120 Minutes'” and see if I like them–this is how I ended up in love with the Smiths.
At some point prior to that Christmas, I was in the car with both parents and “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” came on. Any music fan knows this song is a violin classic. My Dad, not missing a beat, informed us that he “loves a good fiddle.” For some reason, I found that hilarious. He didn’t really listen to country often, which made it even funnier. This was a man with an extremely dry wit.
Fast-forward to a half-hour ago, when I was sitting at work, listening to my beloved KEXP/Seattle. Sure enough, they played the Geraldine Fibbers. It was quite possibly the first time I’d heard the band in more than a decade at least.
These are the very odd things that remind me of my Dad. He passed away two months ago and it still feels very strange and wrong. I can’t go home at Christmas. I can’t go home at Thanksgiving or my birthday or even my 20th high school reunion. My home is gone.