Whitney Houston 1963-2012

By now everyone knows about the death of Whitney Houston. I am surprisingly moved. Her music seems to be the backdrop for many memories with my family and relocating to Minnesota. When I hear “I Want To Dance With Somebody” it places me in 1987, working at a concrete pump manufacturing plant, in the parts department. My boys were 9 and 5. I was coaching Robby in football, Matt would be entering 1st grade in the fall and my wife Dawn was working 2nd shift at a breast implant company. She bought me the cassette of ‘Whitney’ and I played it daily on my Sony Cassette/Radio with 2 tiny speakers plugged into the headphone jack that I still own. Whitney was placed on my “Free Pass” list. You know the one that couples have… If Whitney were to find me irresistible, if we were ever to meet, I had a “free pass” to have sex with her without any retribution. That voice… That body… Oh my… (Why I always select celebrities for the list is beyond me. Next time I should say the hot bartender at TGIFridays or a waitress at Hooter’s. Any of them. At least there is a remote chance there. Albeit, very remote. I can be in the same room with them. The rest is up to me.) Music time stamps my memories. When I hear “Never” by Heart, Dawn and I are at The Palace in Burlington, WI having multiple cocktails and singing loudly as it distortedly blared from the jukebox. It was our first time back home after moving and we were looking for some former co-workers from Nestles. Any Frank Zappa song (along with many others) makes me think of the Boys from Burlington: Dave, Jeff and Dimmy. Singing “Catholic Girls” on Jeff’s system in his orange Rabbit on our way to Two for Tuesday at Ez-On-Down in Lake Geneva. ’All I Ever Wanted’ by Santana brings me back to Conkey Street in Burlington and Jim’s beyond amazing stereo. Yes’s “Long Distance Runaround”  takes me up the street to Jimmy D’s. It saddens me to hear that the Boy’s that still live in town rarely see each other except for Clam holidays. I know life goes on but… I think I owe Piney a phone call. She just lives up the road. Anyway, I digress.

As I write this, the cause of death is yet to be determined but the first inclination is of a drug overdose. So sad and such a drop for the that I fell in love with in 1985. From the first note of “You Give Good Love” to the everlasting “I Will Always Love You”, Whitney’s vocal skills mesmerized the world. The peak of her power was her performance at the 1990 Super Bowl where she set the standard by which all other versions of “The Star Spangled Banner” are now measured. It’s the “Sgt. Pepper” of our National Anthem. She began her relationship with Bobby Brown which preceded her subsequent decline and disappearance into obscurity. It was heartbreaking and she fell from the list. I don’t want to follow Bobby Brown’s penis anywhere. God knows were THAT thing’s been. Her last public appearance had her leaving dinner in LA with Ray J, the forgettable man from the Kim Kardashian sex tape, and his buckling her seat belt. I hope that was just a way for Ray to get a little incidental breast to elbow contact just so he could tell his boys that he touched one. I bet a wasted Whitney could be a party. Imagine what kind of money said Ray J could pull in with this tape. ’High Live & Horny: Whitney’s Final Fun’ would garner $10s of millions of dollars and no Whitney to stop it. Can’t count on Bobby Brown to speak up on her behalf. He wants to see it. What are the odds that a camera was rolling later that night? I will say this:  She still had that smile.

A tragic ending to one of the truly great voices of all time. She didn’t respect her gift though. For that and bad taste in men seem to be the cause of death. And that’s how the autopsy report should read. I could save the state of California a few grand and put things in a language that we can all understand without an interpreter. It just occurred to me, who would have bet Bobby Brown would out live Whitney Houston in 1985? Vegas would be quivering.

I hope that Miss Houston has found her peace. I will miss her.

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