Dear Ed:

“There you go, man. Keep as cool as you can. Face piles of trials with smiles. It riles them to believe that you perceive the web they weave. Keep on thinking free…”

We heard those words in 1970. I was 12, you 16. You had one of those cheesy record players, remember? A plastic thing where the platter would fold up and the speakers attach to the side so it closed and was “portable”. Weighed maybe 40 or 50 pounds, but it was “portable”. We didn’t care, the speakers spread out 10 feet and filled the room with sound.

You joined a record club. One of those where you pay a buck and get like 10 albums, and then have to buy eight more at ridiculous prices over the next three years. You let me pay the dollar so I could “own” the albums with you. We chose to listen to this album first for reasons I don’t remember.

We heard those words from an album neither of us knew. The first track was amazing to us; we just stared at each other. I never hear a song from that album without thinking of you and that day.

Frankly, much of my youth I’d rather forget, but there were moments, like this and others, where sharing a room with a big brother was awesome.

My point is this: you shouldn’t be gone, man. I miss you.

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