Saturday, December 29, 2007

Reflections on the end of the Year

Last night I was reflecting on the last year as it is coming to an end. As I thought about the year to come I was aware that I was in my 50th year on this planet which had me thinking about where I came from and who I have become.

I was born and raised in Ann Arbor Michigan and although I have been gone from there longer than I lived there, it is still in a way for me, "home", because it was such a significant part of my life and partly because I still have family there and am able to visit on a regular basis.

At the end of 2006 we lost one of our Ann Arbor icons, UM football coach Bo Schembechler. As a child I spent many a day at the UofM football games as well as local high school games as my father was the head football coach at Pioneer High ever since I can remember. It became part of who I am.

In September of 2007, we lost another Ann Arbor icon, our legendary Shakey Jake Woods. If you are not from Ann Arbor you may not have heard of Jake. He was not in the national spotlight as Bo was but to us Ann Arborites, he was a local celebrity. As a young teenager I had split my time between Ann Arbor and the California Bay area due to my parents divorce. When I was in CA, I made sure I had my golden yellow Shakey Jake t-shirt so I would remain connected to my home, Ann Arbor.

Jake was a musician playing his often out of tune guitar for the community at festivals and even on street corners. It wasn't his musical talents that impressed or attracted us to him but his stories and words of wisdom and the fact that he didn't care what people thought - he did his thing and he impacted our community with his spirit.

Over my almost 50 years, there have been only 2 other deaths of non family members that have impacted my life as an "end of an era" as Bo and Jake's passing has impacted me and that was the death of John F. Kennedy and John Lennon. Their spirits and memories and contributions to the world live on.

Shakey Jake has left the building. Goodbye 2007!