The Second Longest Day

The second time I played a “Longest Day” was June 21, 2020. It was a far cry from being surrounded by support and raising lots of money. I didn’t even get to play in Sundance Square because the whole facility was blocked off and closed to the public. It was after the spring break that never ended. It was when people were overusing the word “unprecedented” and fighting each other, the government, and a virus you could share without showing symptoms, die from without knowing you contracted it, and the ways to beat it kept changing. We fought about whether to wear a mask or what kind of mask to wear. We fought about whether we should go into public or whether we should stay at home. What kills the virus? How do we share it? Is the government helping or hurting? Why are people dying? Are the hospitals padding their numbers? Is this a biowarfare attack? Is anyone safe anywhere anymore or are we watching the end of it all?

When the Longest Day, 2019 concluded, we were all excited about what we had accomplished. June 21, 2020 was going to be on a Saturday so we expected to be able to increase our fundraising ability. It was going to be huge because we knew what we were doing and were cranking out growth ideas by the dozen. We couldn’t wait to SEE a world without Alzheimer’s with 2020 vision, Alzheimer’s behind us like 2020 hindsight, and I’d do 12 more hours on stage, all from memory, without repeating a song, and we would move closer to a cure. That’s not what happened. Somewhere, somehow, the seams that hold the world together came apart.

I wish the COVID 19 Pandemic was the only thing that made the Longest Day 2020 difficult, but it wasn’t. In May of that year, George Floyd was killed by police while people watched to film it. It was horrific to see the video displayed over and over on the news and social media. It was even more horrific to understand that it was preventable. What happened across the US after that event was something I had never witnessed. I had only read about the marches during the civil rights movement in the ‘50s and ‘60s, but I had never seen what was happening. Some marches turned destructive and violent, and some were completely peaceful. Some people thought racist infiltrators were escalating the events to cast dispersion on the demonstrators. All of this once again reinvigorated the debate about which lives matter. Society was starting to come apart.

I started the Longest Day on my back porch with a few songs on Facebook live but not many people watched. There were bigger, scarier things happening. I had a couple of shows scheduled that day and was going to livestream them in hopes to raise a little money, or at the very least, help viewers imagine something better. During my first show, a demonstration for BLM and George Floyd happened in the street in the Fort Worth Stockyards. I was incredibly nervous about what was going to happen, but the demonstrators, the onlookers, the police, and everyone else involved were respectful of one another’s right to exist and to peacefully express themselves. I was proud but I was tired. I signed off long before 12 hours had passed. We raised a few hundred dollars and that was all. 

2020 was a hard and scary year. Even if I had played for 12 hours, I think it was too scary for people to give money for something when we didn’t know when or if the world was going to start spinning again. It was hard to think of what the future could be when the present was all we could see. Many of us made personal commitments then. I know I will never again let fear of the unknown cause me to abandon my principles, but I also know that being right is not nearly as important as treating another person as my equal. After the world started to turn again and people came out from cover, the problems we left behind were still there.  That includes our species struggle with Alzheimer’s and the desperate need to irradicate it.

On Thursday, June 20th, I’ll be doing it again. From 10:00AM to 10:00PM I’ll be on Peace Plaza in Grapevine, TX to raise money to create a world without Alzheimer’s. We will live stream the event and I’ll make sure to share the link for that. We’ll take donations in person at the event, online through a donation link, and at satellite watching parties. I am only one person, but I have many friends. Each of you are only one person, but you have many friends. If my friends, and your friends, and their friends all donate, we’ll get to reach the goal. When we reach the goal, we get closer to a world without Alzheimer’s. When we reach a world without Alzheimer’s, we won’t have to live through what so many already have. 

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