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Community Comment

Tue., June 7, 2011, 1:29 p.m.

Saving history for posterity…

Good morning, Netizens...


At my somewhat advanced age in life, there is hardly a place in each day when I turn around a corner and I can visualize a piece of what, for most people, is old history still staring me in the face. People tend to misunderstand this, because they never shared that piece of history and thus are unable to make the emotional or mental connection to it. People, particularly here in Spokane, seem to have a mental link with whatever genre of music they happen to enjoy, yet they sadly are quite sadly unaware of some of the truly talented musical performers who have already passed away, leaving behind a vast but unappreciated wealth of songs in their wake.


For example, if I begin rambling on about the life and times of the late singer/songwriter Fred Neil, for the most part, all I will receive are blank looks. Yet, I insist, he had one of the most-unique voices and that, coupled with an incredible gift of writing poignant, moving songs made him a force to be reckoned with back in the 60's in New York's East Village. Yet, aside from some of the old gaffers who were around in the 60'/s, very few people remember Fred Neil.


Speaking of history of a different kind, last week we saw an end to an American television icon, James Arness, who passed away quietly in his sleep at age 88. It seems ironic to me that another cinematic icon, the late John Wayne, was directly responsible for getting Arness started in his career, one that ultimately resulted in Arness's long and durable career as Marshall Matt Dillon on Gunsmoke. Can you envision an afterlife with the likes of such certifiable western movie stars as William Boyd (Hopalong Cassidy), Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Tom Mix, and the Duke (John Wayne) all rambling around on their horses looking for bad guys? Of course, this begs the question, are there any more of the old-time cowboys (and faux cowboys) left to protect innocent citizens from the bad guys? Of course, you have to have aged quite a bit to remember Hopalong Cassidy or, for that matter, Tom Mix as both were a bit before this generation's time, but still, these were once considered to be our collective heroes.

Doesn't History suggest that we lose sight of some of our collective heroes in life? I submit that each generation must find or select new heroes. Unfortunately, rather than go out of a morning and gently pluck our pieces of old history off the vines of life, in most cases we simply let them wither, then drop to the ground where they blow away with the first puff of wind. Of course your thoughts on this may differ.



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Spokesman-Review readers blog about news and issues in Spokane written by Dave Laird.