The song was intended to be directed at teens, but quickly became more universal, as we all, at least occasionally, need the reminder. It may not ease the pain of any particular moment, but it does help to know that you aren’t alone, being singled out for pain.
This hit home for me personally this week, when we lost our beloved Yodette.
Yodette was our dog, a Boston Terrier with such a sweet-though-sometimes-feisty disposition. She was almost fifteen years old. And she was much more than just a pet. She was family. And meant more to all of us than I could ever hope to write in this blog.
Even though she was almost fifteen, and had a handful of ailments not uncommon to older dogs, she left us suddenly, in a whirlwind of what turned into a pretty miserable weekend, including multiple sad trips to a Pet ER (where she was kept in an oxygen unit next to a Boxer named Knuckles (who we never knew but hope is feeling better by now).
It hurt so much to lose Yodette. At times, the pain feels almost unbearable. I say “feels” because it hasn’t gone away, yet. And probably never will, entirely.
I talk to people every week on Psychic Tapestry who have a variety of gifts and skills, but the consensus among those guests and, I would imagine, almost everyone who listens to the show, is that we all go on. Pets, too. Of this, I have no doubt.
So I know that this was not an ending. Yodette is not really gone. She’s healed of all her ailments, and is happy and playing and having her fill of wonderful treats. Her eyesight is completely restored, keener than it ever was. So is her hearing. And her agility.
Even though I am absolutely positive about those things, I am still so very sad. She was a big part of my life, and maybe I didn’t realize just how big, but now the house is atypically quiet without her snorts and snores.
Compounding this is the pain that my wife feels.
She had Yodette for nearly fifteen years. She’s only had me nine-and-a-half. Yodette was her friend, her companion and her confidant. It’s a position I can’t fill, and a pain I can’t heal.
As bad as I feel personally, I feel even worse, knowing how miserable and heartbroken my wife is, and knowing that there is nothing I can do to ease her pain.
I can tell her that Yodette feels better now. And that she’s playing with other dogs, and being cared for by my wife’s great-grandmother. That won’t help her when she sees Yodette’s bowl, or one of her beds (strategically placed in the living room and in our bedroom).
But as painful as this experience has been, and continues to be, for me, my wife and our family, I am comforted to know that we are not alone.
There has been a wonderful outpouring from our friends and family, through emails and social media. So many sending thoughts, prayers and Reiki. And many sharing their own stories, commiserating because they, too, have been there, and know what it’s like to lose a beloved friend like Yodette.
We all have moments when we suffer a loss, and feel that unbearable sorrow and grief. You can’t truly love someone without it.
At times like this, many ask why there has to be suffering. And while I don’t pretend to know everything, or anything really, I think it’s so we can appreciate the joy.
If everything was always good, I think we’d quickly take it for granted. We wouldn’t be grateful for the good days, the smiles, the joy. We wouldn’t even notice, because we’d have it every single day. It wouldn’t matter.
Remember records? When a single came out, one side was the hit song that we loved. The other song was one that we usually didn’t know. We rarely listened to that other song. But it had to be there. You couldn’t have a one-sided record, after all.
I think that’s why we have bad days, that’s why we have pain. So we can really appreciate the good days, and the love.
We miss you so very much, Yodette. But we’re so very grateful for the years we had, and the many smiles we shared. Like these (including a watercolor painted by my very talented mother-in-law):
This is as good a reason as any to think about those in your life that you really treasure, to be grateful that you have them, and to make sure you let them know. Even if you think they already know. Actually, ESPECIALLY if you think they already know.
“Photographs and Memories” was on his third album, “You Don’t Mess Around With Jim”, which spent 93 weeks on the charts, longer than any of Jim’s other albums.
It’s nostalgic, and somewhat sad, but I find it a little hopeful, as well. It’s about a relationship that has ended, and it could be that the couple broke up or it could be that the other one passed away.
Either way, Jim laments that the photos are all that he has left, as he bittersweetly recalls the days when they were together.
I find it hopeful because I think it’s good to remember important parts of our past, the pleasant and, on occasion, the painful. Both have made us who we are today.
But it’s also important to keep in mind that, while the past is a nice place to visit, you shouldn’t live there. And you shouldn’t use it as some kind of yardstick to measure where you are now.
At the risk of putting that Disney song in your head, let it go. Allow yourself to remember those things, the good and the bad, just don't let them have power over you.
Taking the title of Jim's song literally, I also wanted to share some photographs with you.
The first pictures come from a recent Ghost Tour my wife and I went on at Balboa Park here in San Diego. I wasn’t really expecting anything. I just thought the way the lighting and sky looked, made this tower pretty spectacular.
So I whipped out my phone and snapped a picture. Then I enlarged that photo because I thought I saw something. Or someone. Does it look to you like there’s a figure on the balcony?
These next photos are from psychic and author Toni DeMaio (who co-hosts Psychic Tapestry’s Love Show with me on Fridays). She was just taking a couple pictures of a pretty sunset. The two pics below were taken just moments apart, and she didn’t see the streaking light that appears in the second one. A friend of hers said he thought it was Angelic Photobombing. What do you think?
Love to hear what you think about either of those pairs of photos. And to get back to the song, here’s a video someone uploaded to YouTube with a very rare concert performance by Jim Croce, and it begins with “Photographs and Memories”!
There certainly are some of those, but the ones that stick around tend to be the singers and bands who do the work, even when the success isn’t immediate.
In part, that’s one of the themes of this song. The fire grows higher when there’s a burning in your heart.
We’ve all heard “Do what you love and the money will follow.” I’ve heard it so many times, the words have lost their meanings. And I think for a lot of us, myself certainly included, it’s difficult to keep doing what I love when the money doesn’t flow fast enough.
We all second-guess ourselves. Maybe this isn’t what I’m supposed to do. Maybe I’m kidding myself. Maybe I’m just doing it wrong.
You can drown in all those maybes. And you can give up your dream.
Better to take a step back. Don’t give up. Take a breath. Look at your path. And if you can’t get to where you want to be TODAY, remember that you can still get there, perhaps tomorrow.
The job you have at the moment, the place where you live, even the relationship you’re in, doesn’t have to be the end of your story. Only you can make that decision. Likewise, you’re the only one that can abandon your dream.
Where you are today isn’t forever. It may just be “for now” until you’re ready for the next step, the next phase, the next adventure.
Take care of yourself, and make plans for whatever is going to come next. And if you aren’t quite ready for that, just make plans to make plans.
The other part of this song that I really like is the title. You are a tourist.
In the song, it suggests that if you feel like a tourist in the city where you were born, it’s time to go.
And that’s definitely something to consider. If your house is not your home, you need to remedy that, one way or another.
But I take it a different way.
We all get so tied down to material things. Our homes, our cars, our stuff. We get into ruts where our daily routine consists of work and errands and to-do lists, period. One weekday bleeds into the next, until we’re finally so glad it’s Friday! Then we collapse and the weekend whizzes by, and it’s back to the grind.
And that’s only if you don’t work on the weekend. Or if those two days of supposed respite are instead filled with more of the mundane tasks you couldn’t finish during the week.
And as if that wasn’t bad enough, America leads the world in vacation-days-not-taken. So there are plenty of us who have the opportunity to take that time for ourselves, and we choose to stay in our ruts.
I suggest you take your cues from the song’s title, and, even if you can’t go on a vacation, be a tourist. Right there, where you live.
Do something, every week, that’s just for you. It doesn’t have to cost money. Go to the beach, the lake, the woods, the park, a museum. See the sites. Your town’s sites. Everybody’s town has something to see, but since we live there, sometimes we forget. Or just take it for granted.
You don’t have to buy anything. You don’t need to be on a schedule.
Just be a tourist.
One last thing, and while it’s a best technical, I hope you get a little inspiration it.
On April 5, 2011, Death Cab For Cutie streamed a live performance of the music video for "You Are a Tourist". The video, directed by Tim Nackashi, was accomplished in one take, using multiple cameras, and no edits or re-takes. The production employed dancers, actors, and projected images.
According to the band, "You Are a Tourist" was the first ever live, scripted, one-take music video shoot.
Think about that for a moment.
Bands have been making videos for a while now. The Beatles did a bunch of them back in the 1960’s. Plenty of other singers and bands followed, and then it all exploded in the 1980’s with MTV.
But no other band has ever done what Death Cab For Cutie did with the video for this song.
You can still blaze your trail, and reach your dream, no matter how many have come before. No one else is you.
And you are a tourist.
Ken Kessler has always been interested in psychic phenomena, and like Mulder on the X-Files, wants to believe. But like most, he tends to look for, and accept, rational explanations. (More)