American Pie

I’m a 90’s kid who was born in the 80’s and raised on 70’s music by 60’s kids who were born in the 50’s.

Baby boomer, gen x, millenial… these words don’t mean much to me. It’s just different parts of the same story, or better yet, different parts of the same song. It’s the soundtrack of my life and as Don McLean once sang; a long, long time ago, I can still remember how that music used to make me smile.

These are the people who made me; Chris and Cyndi Kirkpatrick. Fate and other factors brought them together some 40 years ago. They met in Cheyenne, Wyoming through their mutual friends, Ellen and Barry. To hear my mom tell the story; she was basically left with no other option but to give in to my dad’s persistence and go out on date with him. The rest, as they say is history.

They met in Cheyenne, Wyoming where my dad was stationed and my mom had recently moved to, fleeing an abusive situation from her first husband. We haven’t had many conversations about the subject but I can only imagine the bravery that it took for my mom to uproot herself and my toddler sister in order to forge a new life. This is the true heroism of a mother. My Dad fell in love with my mom and Hillari and raised my sister as his own daughter. This is the true love of a father. They were still just a couple of kids.

Let’s go back even further…

This is my dad when he was about the age of my youngest son. He is on his grandparent’s farm with his old dog Spot. Spot was blind but could navigate the 600 acre farm by memory. Of course, if someone ever shut a gate that was usually open, Spot would run into it.

This is my dad as a teenager in the 70’s. He split his time between Kansas City and the Ozarks. This photograph is a poignant reminder that I will never be as cool as my dad.

My mom grew up on a farm in Wisconsin, in a Norwegian community that was in part founded by her grandparents.

This is my mom looking like Alanis Morissette in the music video for “Ironic.” Except that my mom wasn’t trying to look cool for a music video, she just did. Isn’t that ironic? Eat your heart out Alanis.

So yeah, they met, they fell in love and they got married. But eventually, my parents got bored with my older sister and decided to have me.

I was a perfect little angel.

They bought this house which is the roof under which I was raised.

Many a joyful Christmas has been celebrated in this house. To this day, the Kirkpatrick Christmas Eve party is my favorite day of the year.

This is me, circa 1989 with a Mr D’s grocery sack, just absolutely cleaning house on Easter Morning in my front yard.

This is my old dog Mike. He was protective, loyal and clumsy. He never really learned how to lay down. Instead, he would find the spot where he wanted to rest, walk in three small circles and then fall over with a resounding thud. We grew accustomed to the sound of a one hundred pound German Shepherd, continuously falling over to sleep every night.

This is me, learning how to ride a bike in front of my parent’s house. It’s the same stretch of pavement where I have taught my two oldest sons to ride a bike. I tried to both encourage and push them the way my own dad did. We shed the same blood from scraped knees and determined tears upon the same hollowed ground. This is the true circle of life.

These are my kids. They are, I suppose, 20’s kids, born in the 00’s and teens, raised on ten decades of music by 80’s and 90’s kids who grew up learning everything they know from the generation before.

This transference of knowledge, culture and values; this is what it is really all about. Our lives are just plot points on the intricate matrix of existence. From father to son and mother to daughter… the soundtrack of our lives continues.

Sure, some things change and life evolves but the music… well the music never dies.