A Dark and Stormy Day

_MG_8790MODPoor old Snoopy just can’t get past staring his book with the line, “It was a dark and stormy night.” I know that it has become a common joke, but you know what?  Frankly, I like the line. It creates a brooding image in my mind and sets a great tone! Yeah, I know, I’ll never make it as a writer or editor.  That’s fine. It doesn’t bother me.  I know what I like, and I like “It was a dark and stormy night!”

This picture was taken on a dark and stormy day…a cold one, too!  This is the house I featured before, but taken from a different angle the brooding skies are obvious as if the sky itself is grieving what happened to this home and those who lived in it.

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: it was 1959 when the music died as rising American rock stars Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson were killed when their chartered Beechcraft plane crashed in Iowa a few minutes after takeoff from Mason City.  Investigators blamed the crash on bad weather and pilot error. Holly and his band, the Crickets, had just scored a No. 1 hit with “That’ll Be the Day.”

After mechanical difficulties hit their tour bus, Holly chartered a plane for his band to fly between stops on the Winter Dance Party Tour. However, Richardson, who had the flu, convinced Holly’s band member Waylon Jennings to give up his seat, and Ritchie Valens won a coin toss for a seat on the plane.

Holly, just 22 when he died, began singing country music with high school friends before switching to rock and roll after opening for various performers, including Elvis Presley. By the mid-’50s, Holly had a regular radio show and toured internationally, playing hits like “Peggy Sue,” “Oh, Boy!,” “Maybe Baby” and “Early in the Morning.” Holly wrote all his own songs, many of which were released after his death and influenced such artists as Bob Dylan and Paul McCartney.

Another crash victim, J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson, 28, started out as a disk jockey in Texas and later began writing songs. Richardson’s most famous recording was “Chantilly Lace,” which made the Top 10.

The third crash victim was Ritchie Valens, born Richard Valenzuela in a suburb of Los  Angeles, who was only 17 when the plane went down but had already scored hits with “Come On, Let’s Go,” “Donna” and “La Bamba,” an upbeat number based on a traditional Mexican wedding song (though Valens barely spoke Spanish). In 1987, Valens’ life was portrayed in the movie La Bamba, and the title song, performed by Los Lobos, became a No. 1 hit. Valens was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001.

Singer Don McLean memorialized Holly, Valens and Richardson in the 1972 No. 1 hit “American Pie,” which refers to February 3, 1959 as “the day the music died.”

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: The total costs of depression in the United States are estimated to be $44 billion: $12 billion in direct costs of treatment, $8 billion in premature death, and $24 billion in absenteeism and reduced productivity at work. These do not include out-of-pocket family expenses, costs of minor and untreated depression, excessive hospitalization, general medical services, and diagnostic tests.


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