Dear John in Heaven

Dear John Denver,
Thank you for your gift of music. I remember listening to you while riding the Skyland Bus from Sagada to Baguio. The bus conductor kept playing your songs over and over and yet over again. Maybe he didn’t have any other cassette tape to play. But maybe, and I think this is the more likely reason, he is a big fan of yours.

The interesting thing is that no passenger complained about it. No one got up to tell the conductor to shut you down after we heard Rocky Mountain High for the uptenth time. Maybe we were all too tired to care. After all, the Halsema trip is a tiresome ride, then, as it is now. But maybe, and this is the more likely reason, we too were all big fans of yours.

So we spent eight long hours in the bus listening to your songs. I would like to believe that we all savored the moment.

John, there’s something about your songs that speaks to the Igorot/iCordillera soul. Maybe it’s the messages in them. You know, we as a people don’t go for songs that don’t mean anything at all. Maybe it’s also your unpretentious voice because we also don’t go for singers who go for vocal calisthenics (pinayegpeg according to my brother). Maybe it’s also because, even though you were in the U.S., you were singing about us: our Cordillera mountains, our winding country roads, the sunshine in our shoulders, and my classmate named Annie.

It might interest you to know that Take Me Home, Country Roads has informally become the Cordillera regional anthem (Update: Ha! I wrote this before I read Chyt’s blog where she also makes the same assertion.) I’m sure most of us, particularly those who have left home, will tear up whenever we hear it. I’m sure we will also remember the bonfire sessions during cold December nights when we passed around the gin, sang Country Roads, and pretended to be you.

By the way, can you explain to us what “mountain mama” means? Is that the name of a mountain in West Virginia? Or were you referring to the mountain as a nurturing environment. We always wondered about it during those bonfire nights but never found out what it means. Maybe this is a good time to ask.

John, thank you also for your gift of activism for peace, social change, and the environment. I must admit though that it is only now that I am discovering this facet of your life. I apologize for not knowing about your advocacies earlier. But, as they say, it’s better late than never.

I’ll end here I guess so you can go back singing with your fellow angels (is it true you only use harp there in heaven?) and I will go back discovering more about your life and work to draw inspiration from them.

Bill Bilig
Igorot Blogger
From the Boondocks

Since you have access to the Lord, can you ask him to send a bolt of lightning to the following people: George W. Bush, Gloria Arroyo, and Archbishop Akinola. They need to be reminded as to who is the real Lord. Thanks again.

Note to our readers: You might want to check out the following links on John Denver. It is his death anniversary today.
Smorgasbord on Random Thoughts

Bread for the World Blog (make sure you read Chyt’s poem in the comments)
John Denver at Wikipedia

9 thoughts on “Dear John in Heaven”

  1. What a lovely letter, kabayan! And when I got to the end of it, mas maganda – the lightning thing! 🙂

  2. Seasons Of The Heart, JD’s song me and my 5 sisters used to sing with 1st voice-2nd voice effect. Jamming home during weekends. These lines we like:

    Of course we have our differences, you shouldn’t be surprised.
    It’s as natural as changes in the seasons and the skies.
    Sometimes we grow together, sometimes we drift apart,
    a wiser man than I might know the seasons of the heart…

    …Love is why I came here in the first place, love is now the reason I must go.
    Love is all I ever hoped to find here, love is still the only dream I know.
    True love is still the only dream I know…

  3. Bill, simply laeng ti meaning ti “mountain mama”. If Ganda rents a pony in Baguio, agkabalyo isuna nga agawid over the mountains of Nueva Vizcaya, she is considered a mountain mama, hehe..
    Kasta laeng dayta.

    That was some clever letter! Yeah, these three needs some voltage to stimulate their degree of comprehension. Lalo na itong si “Ms De Plane”, that’s my new nickname for her, remember “Fantasy Island’s Tattoo”?
    Her empire is just spiralling down south.

    John D’s early departure was really mournful. One thing good was the autopsy’s result exonerating him of inebriation. I remembered the media at that time quickly reported alcohol in his system was at fault. So biased.
    Love his songs except TGIMACboy.
    “For You” is the VERY BEST, even TruPink who’s not into music, thinks it’s ddkted to her when I’m playing it, hehe….
    Cheers and goodhealth…………

  4. truly a one of a kind entry. I think this is my favorite among all your blog entries mula umpisa! 🙂

    as in tama ka dun, mahilig tayo sa country. I remember when I was a teenager, and my friends were into bon jovi and his kind, they’d force me to listen and sing BonJovi. I only sing “Always” because it is a story and it’s kind of a slow rock. It was really very difficult to be a George Strait let alone a John Denver (I’m referring to the distance in time)fan back then, but tigas pa rin ulo ko. 🙂 I love JD’s ‘Like a Sad Song.’

    Sir Tru, at bakit naman po ako nasali dito, aberrr? 🙂 🙂 Pony ba naman!!! Parang napaka-gentle, parang walang kachallenge-challenge! Lol

    I only rode powerful stallions during my time ‘noh!


    uy, cute naman po ng name nyo, trublue and trupink! 🙂

  5. Hi Anitokid,
    Thanks. Sana magkatotoo nga yung lightning just to remind them hehehe.

    Hi Lovelyn,
    Hey, thanks for that. I’m now listening to it in youtube 🙂 Really nice song ano?

    Hi Trublue,
    Hehe, are you pulling my leg? I thought it was a mountain that looks like the Kalinga Sleeping Beauty.

    Had to google de Plane Fantasy Island to get what you mean heheh. Thanks.

    Hi Ganda,
    Thanks and welcome back. He included you because he missed your comments hehe. Make sure you read Trublue’s entry where he introduced TruPink.

    Hindi nga challenging ang sumakay ng pony 🙂 Thanks again.

  6. I just came from Chyt’s Smorgasbrd blog and she also featured John Denver. There are many things she shared about the singer that we did not know before. I love John Denver more. It is really sad that he died early.

    This is a nice letter to John Denver. Sapay koma ta sungbatan na.

  7. Hi Anonymous,
    Thanks for dropping by. Yup, thanks to Chyt for alerting us about John Denver. She actually convinced me to blog about him. I am glad she did because I learned to appreciate him more as a singer and as a person. Thanks again and we hope you continue to join us 🙂

  8. Yes, John Denver’s songs will live in the hearts of the Cordillerans. He is not only a great singer and composer, but a great person as well.

    Take me home country roads is a favorite song of my Dad, who is a frustrated singer. Back-up vocalists kami met a no kantaena hehehe…

    For You is also my favorite, although I also like Seasons of the Heart, popularized in Bontoc by Fr. Sammy Maximo, one of the singing priests. Ah, makes me homesick!

  9. Hi Layad,
    It’s always good to know that the artists you like are not only good at their craft but are good human beings ano?

    Speaking of country roads, hoy magsign ka nga doon sa open letter for imountain province. sige na hehe. maagasan nan iliw no men sign ka isdi 🙂

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