Considering Life: What Leon Russell taught me about belongings

This painting hangs on my living room wall. I belonged to my father. My father has been dead now for 12 years. He died in 2005, was quickly creamated and I promptly estranged from my step-mother. It all happened very fast. So fast that this is the only material possession that I now own that belonged to my father. The only physical reminder (save a number of cherished photos) of his 52 year existence that I own. And that stinks. He had this amazing record collection that spanned 25 years of rock history, he had this collection of Time-Life Art History books that chronicled the great artists in history, and he had this amazing set of shaker style book cases that reminded me of my childhood every time I touched them. He had some shirts and a sweatshirt that I know he wore for 20 years. The man was a collector of things. But all of that is just memory. For a long time I was angry my step-mother never let me have any of his things. I would like to have just a few more items so as my memory fades I can rekindle that light with some physical reminders of his life and our love for each other.

But I guess that was not to be. Then, one day on my morning walk, I was listening to my Spotify and the song Lady Blue came on in some random mix. Its a beautiful some and I can honestly say I have not heard it since my father was alive. he played Leon Russell all of the time and this song was one of his favorites.

And then it hit me, these songs I still connect him with, they are my possessions handed down from him. The music is The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zepplin, Stevie Wonder, Arethat Franklin, Cream, Devo, Joni Mitchell, Donovan, and more. These artists were his most prized possessions. And while I still miss the feel and smell of those albums I know they are there every time Boz Skagg’s Dirty Low Down comes on. every song is a hug from him. And that is pretty great.

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