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Hollie Grimaldi Flores: Go ahead and jump

How are you holding up? It’s been another tough couple of weeks, to say the least. Tough for the peacemakers, tough for the leadership, tough for the meek and tough for the righteous. I don’t want to ask if life can get any crazier, because we all know it can get much worse. I have been working hard on focusing on what is good and in making the most of the situation in which we find ourselves.

And just when I think I may have a handle on things, Eddie Van Halen dies. At just 65 years of age, the accomplished guitarist lost his decade long battle with cancer.

There is a belief among some, that tragedy comes in threes, as often when someone famous meets their end, two more quickly follow. And so, it was, about a week ago, when I heard Helen Reddy and Mac Davis had died, that I made a few guesses to who would best round out that threesome. My money was on Jim Stafford. Not that I meant him harm or wished him ill, it just seemed like he fit the vibe from Reddys’ “I am Woman” to Davis’ “It’s Hard to be Humble,” why not throw in “I Don’t Like Spiders and Snakes”? I have many memories from the 1970s that tie those three. But no, it’s Eddie Van Halen — a few might argue it was Tower of Power Bassist Francis Rocco Prestia — but in terms of fame, in the world of music, Eddie fills the trio… lest a new set of three has begun.



Music is a time machine. It’s has an incomparable ability to take us to days gone by. One riff on a guitar, or a few notes on a keyboard and we can be transported to a warm summer night cruising on winding back roads or a wasted afternoon in a neighbors basement, or at a backyard sleepover waiting for the DJ to play that one particular song. It can remind of us of a simpler time or a more complicated one.

My take-away continues to be to say “yes” as often as possible, and when in doubt (in the words of our friend from Van Halen), “might as well jump.”

About 30 years ago, a friend of mine who worked in radio asked my opinion of a new format the station she worked for was about to launch. Instead of the oldies music we were familiar with from the 50s and 60s, they were going to revive the hits from the 1970s. My formative years. I didn’t like it. I was afraid those tender memories from my youth would be replaced with my current circumstance. Instead of thinking fondly of prom night listening to “Just The Way You Are,” I would be reminded of filing contracts or other adulting tasks. I didn’t want to risk it. The folks in charge of programming didn’t agree. As it turns out, I was wrong about the memory being tarnished.



Before long, the Bee Gee’s had me back on roller skates “Jive Talking.” And Bob Seger had me watching a sunrise in the summer desert, working on those “Night Moves.” Music does that.

My husband and I don’t share the same taste in music, so when we decided to take a little road trip to Oregon, I picked a station on satellite radio that I thought would suit us both, wondering if maybe one of the songs played would become a memory of the two of us driving through the Redwoods, cruising along the coast line, sharing new experiences. We spent about 16 hours in the car over a couple of days and by the middle of the second afternoon, he gently asked me what station we were listening to and suggested something a bit further back in time. Accommodating as I am, I let him choose and soon we were listening to The Drifters, Otis Redding, The Supremes, Martha and The Vandellas and The Four Tops. Suddenly, I was a child riding in an old Volkswagen with my big brothers singing along. Music is magical.

That trip had a few memorable moments. It was so windy at the beach; we could barely stand upright, and I am quite sure my sand blasted legs will not require shaving until Christmas. We took a side road that left us stranded on a sand dune and relied on the kindness of strangers to help extricate our SUV. I am not sure there is a song in there for us, but it was a pleasant get away that didn’t necessarily help us forget – even for a short time—that the world is operating on a different level right now and it did affirm our love for the community we call home.

We were happy when we pulled into the driveway and settled back into our current day to day. A week later we learned that many of the towns we drove through were destroyed by fire. A quick reminder that nothing is to be taken for granted and things can, indeed, always get worse. I went back to working on focusing on what is good and in making the most of the situation in which we find ourselves.

My take-away continues to be to say “yes” as often as possible, and when in doubt (in the words of our friend from Van Halen), “might as well jump.”

Hollie Grimaldi Flores is a Nevada County resident and freelance writer for hire, as well as a podcaster at HollieGrams. You can hear her episodes at https://www.buzzsprout.com/1332253. She can be reached at holliesallwrite@gmail.com.


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