Monday, November 7, 2011

The Concert For Mags......

When my children were little I was visiting my parents in mid-Missouri which was also home to a small Amish community. My mom & stepdad insisted on visiting an Amish farm & trying to find someone to give my very tenacious boys a ride on a wagon with horses. We drove down a dusty gravel road & found a farm with horses in front & a sign for handmade baskets. We pulled in and found a teenage boy who was delighted to take the kids for a ride. My mom & I stayed back & inquired about the baskets ..and three young girls told us to come inside the house to look at them. While inside the barren home, we asked about their parents and the sweet children told us that their "pa" had died and their "ma" was in the backroom.... in mourning for a year......I'm beginning to think that holing up in a room for a year is not enough to mourn the loss of a loved one.

I titled this post in the vein of The Concert for George...which was released in 2002, one year to the date of the death of George Harrison. Eric Clapton arranged the entire show & it was an incredible tribute to the Quiet Beatle.......  Following the passing of Mags, I spent weeks unable to listen to music...because it was a constant reminder of the loss.  After 4 weeks, I spent an entire day listening to new music that couldn't remind me of her...then I finally made a breakthrough and am determined to let the music heal the pain.  So this post is going to include some music references just for Mags.

At Margaret's funeral, her niece, Annie, (who is the most awesome girl in the world--along with my daughter, Abby) and Mags' boyfriend, Keith, wrote & read a poignant eulogy and I want to share that with all of you...

(Keith Reading:)
Maggie was a beautiful, caring person with a heart of gold who loved music, life and her family, especially her niece and nephew, Annie and Mac.
She had a great sense of humor, sometimes mischievous, but never meant to harm and always to bring a smile and laughter.
(Annie reading:)
Music meant a lot to her and was very important to her. She loved listening to music, researching various musicians and their music, and of course going to concerts. Each year she always enjoyed going to a Beatles festival called “Abbey Road on the River” with her dear friend Lanea Stagg and her daughter and my close friend Abby, and me. She loved The Beatles, The Doors, and The Foo-Fighters; especially George Harrison, Jim Morrison, and Dave Grohl.
Probably her proudest achievement was the recent publication of her “Recipe Records” cookbook who she co-authored with her friend Lanea. She called it her “beautiful baby” and would probably be very upset if I didn’t mention that it is available at I’m sure you recognize this commercial if you ever called her and got her voice mail message. She always looked forward to book signings and promotions.
She was a great radio DJ and she loved that job dearly. Her radio career was unfortunately cut short due to circumstances beyond her control, as well as an unfortunate vision impairment. Either one of these situations would have been devastating to many people and the idea of both is unthinkable. However, it didn’t slow her down. She learned how to cope and kept on pushing forward, always thinking positively. Up to the last moments she said things would get better. We don’t see now that she got better and selfishly think she left us too soon, but in actuality she did get better. She’s now in a much better place than all of us, with other loved ones that she felt for the day they left us as we do for her today. I pray that she will continue talking to us daily and know that she doesn’t want us to feel sorry for her, but rather to keep on living life to its fullest, helping others, and remembering all the good times we had with her.
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For some reason I woke up with all of the words for the eulogy dripping from my pen...and Keith tells me it was the same for him as well. I thought it would be difficult to talk about Margaret at her funeral, however, I could've said so much more.  We both agreed that Mags was talking to us..... This is Lanea's eulogy:
When it comes to Margaret….welll… I could write a book. She was a truly special human being.
Margaret Mary McHugh didn’t play electric guitar or drums or sing lead vocals…but she was the biggest rock star that I’ve ever loved. I know that a rock star is someone who doesn’t follow rules, they make their own. They go out of their way to be extraordinary…. Well, Margaret certainly did her share of being extraordinary. A rock star is an engaging person whose magnetism attracts everyone in the audience. Margaret charmingly connected with everyone who was in her audience whether one on one or while floating over the airwaves.
She was fiercely loyal and protective of her family and friends and we are all grateful for that drive in her. I can’t begin to list all of the qualities that she held. She had many names that she answered to, many hats (she had AWESOME HATS) that she wore, so to speak…… Margaret, Ashi, Mags, Maggie, Madison, Maggot (?) Magzie… One hat that is probably unknown to most is the Policeman’s hat she wore…..sometimes in our business dealings, we’d have to make a firm decision with someone and she always wanted to be the Good Cop – the nice one and I had to be the Bad Cop – the one to break the unfortunate news to that person.. It always cracked me up. She had many more qualities than hats & nicknames, though and each one is unforgettable.
Mags loved to give gifts, (she loved comedic gifts) , but I believe two most notable gifts she delivered to us with the grandest, shiniest, most sparkly ribbon that could ever be made…..are the gift of beautiful memories of our times with her and the gift of making each of us feel like we were her BEST friend and we were the most important person in the world.
When I found out that I needed to leave town to see my dear friend, I jumped in my car to drive home and grab some clothes. I turned on the radio instead of the CD player,and because I’m kind of a radio snob --- like Mags, it was odd for me to do this. I headed down the road and the DJ said he was cranking out a couple of tunes by Queen for Two Fer Tuesday --- The first song to come on was “Fat Bottomed Girls “ --- no comment. Before the 2nd song even began I knew what they were going to play … “You’re my Best Friend” . I knew at that moment that was meant for me…many a time we held each other’s hand and sang that song to each other. I’m certain that she’s sending messages to all of us through music. She and I had discussed that phenomenon a lot actually.
Awhile back Margaret asked me to find a song for her and for the longest time neither she nor I could find it. Yesterday the song came to me & I found the lyrics in about 30 seconds. The song is called “Pilot of the Airwaves” by a British musician, (a chick) Charlie Dore. Here are some of the lyrics :
Pilot of the airwaves
Here is my request
You don't have to play it
But I hope you'll do your best
I've been listening to your show on the radio
And you seem like a friend to me
Or a record of your choice
I don't mind
I'd be happy just to hear your voice
Saying this is for the girl
Who didn't sign her name
Yes, she needs a dedication just the same
I been listening to your show on the radio
And you seem like a friend to
Play that song for me
Oh, won't you just play that song for me
I believe Mags is in heaven with her bright, beautiful smile & perfect body and she is piloting the airwaves now and rockin the place --- so keep your ears open…as I know she’ll be playing something for you soon.
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A friend of mine sent me condolences... along with this touching Paul McCartney song/video which I'd like to share with you.  The song is titled "The End of the End"......
And because I'm a lyric freak, I'm going to post the touching lyrics that Paul wrote, I'm sure, with his wife Linda, and friends George & John in mind...

The End Of The End

At the end of the end
It's the start of a journey
To a much better place
And this wasn't bad
So a much better place
would have to be special
No need to be sad

On the day that I die I'd like jokes to be told
And stories of old to be rolled out like carpets
That children have played on
And laid on while listening to stories of old

At the end of the end
It's the start of a journey
To a much better place
And a much better place
Would have to be special
No reason to cry
On the day that I die I'd like bells to be rung
And songs that were sung to be hung out like blankets
That lovers have played on
And laid on while listening to songs that were sung

At the end of the end
It's the start of a journey
To a much better place
And a much better place
Would have to be special
No reason to cry
No need to be sad
At the end of the end

I wanted to share these thoughts about Margaret, in hopes that it'll bring comfort to me and to others. Keep remembering her quick smile & mesmerizing eyes and her unmatched wit & sass. Everyone I talk to has kind words to say to me & for that I'm so blessed. Thank you. My dad told me last week that he was watching something on PBS about Steve Jobs and they were interviewing Jobs' best friend who misses him tremendously. Dad said it made him think about me & Mags. Jobs' friend said that the business and invention aside, he missed all the fun he had with his best friend. Amen.

I'd like to end with my "Suggested Song List" -- which is something we have in our book, Recipe Records....on most pages we formed a theme with the recipes & listed songs that we thought you should listen to while you make that recipe.Today I'm going to post the songs that remind me of Margaret, however, lots of music reminds me of her and there's no way to include it all...these are just some highlights.

Peace & Rock & Roll,

Suggested Songlist for Margaret

Blackbird -    The Beatles
My Sweet Lord - George Harrison
Funeral for a Friend-   Elton John (I mention this tongue in cheek b/c yes, it sounds like a  death song, but it's really a break up song & Mags would get a charge out of that....the song is around 11 minutes long, it was released on the Yellow Brick Road album & the instrumentation is fantastic & powerful, which is why I go ahead & mention it)
Tears in Heaven -    Eric Clapton
Maggie May -    Rod Stewart
The One in the Middle -    Robert Cray
Three Cool Cats -    The Beatles and/or Pete Best Band
What Is Life -    George Harrison
You're My Best Friend -     Queen
Only the Good Die Young –    Billy Joel
Sweet Caroline -    Neil Diamond
Hey Soul Sister -    Train
Bed Intruder (ok this is Abby's pick)
You’ve Got a Friend in Me –    Randy Newman
All Things Must Pass –    George Harrison
Photograph –    Ringo Starr
Maggie's Farm -    Rage Against the Machine
Baby Bird Song -    The Wallflowers
                                            I’ll See You In My Dreams –    Joe Brown

1 comment:

Katy B said...

What an awesome tribute to a woman who surely knew how much you love(d) her. Thank you for sharing your tribute to her.

You had me from the first line but hooked me at "Blackbird." Thank you for bringing back happy memories for me. You're incredible, Lanea!