Maybe John Lennon wasn’t full of crap after all.
When people said the title of one of the Beatles songs, “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” was a reference to the drug LSD, he denied it. But since the Beatles were said to be experimenting with drugs at the time, a lot of people didn’t buy his explanation. Add to it that Lennon had a way of being an @sshole once in a while, a rich guy with an air of superiority, and some people were more than ready to NOT give him the benefit of the doubt. I mean, he said The Beatles were bigger than Jesus, y’know. Okay, he didn’t actually say that, exactly, but you can see how comments can spiral out of control. I’m not sure how he would have fared in today’s instant information world. Pretty good, probably; he mastered the media of the time; why not of this time, too, had he lived?
Anyway, I always thought a little less of him when I heard him deny the drug reference. There was plenty of footage of The Beatles doing drugs and acting strange in places like India, so it seemed likely that the guy WAS secretly referring to drugs, and got caught, and offered a weak denial. He said that his kid had made a drawing and brought it to him and said, “Here, dad, this is Lucy in the sky with diamonds.”
Not having kids at the time, I found the explanation a bit ludicrous, and hardly gave it a second thought.
But years go by and occasionally one of their songs would pop up on the radio, and you might remember things from long ago. Like an arrogant musician trying to fool a willing fan base that he was a better father or citizen or something. But they did make some good music, and a lot of it has held up over the years. Lennon’s comment about “Lucy” was not something I dwelled on, just a controversial little piece of information that was occasionally brought back into the light. I never had any really hostility towards the man, I just liked the stuff by his writing partner, Paul McCartney, better. And George Harrison’s stuff. And some of Ringo’s.
So when we were at the beach on vacation a few weeks ago, we stayed at a rental condo. Of course it was done up in beach themes: seashell decorations and pastel painted walls, and a round dinner table made of wicker-rattan, with a glass table top. Perfect for the three of us – my wife, my daughter, and I – to have breakfast. Since we were on vacation, we had plenty of cameras around, so we could take pictures of anything interesting – and usually what was most interesting to us was our daughter, so we had taken plenty of pictures of her, including one of her playing at the glass table just now.
Our tables at home are not see-through, as this glass topped one was, so my 3 1/2 year old daughter enjoyed playing under it, placing toys and seashells on top of it and then crawling underneath to view them, seeing things from that vantage point.
We were trying to hurry through lunch a bit – get her to eat some green beans so we could go see Winter the dolphin at the Clearwater Aquarium or something, that I was sitting down next to her focusing on what was important to my agenda, and she was of course focused on what was important on her agenda, Rarely are the two aligned.
“Hurry up and eat! I said. “We need to get going!”
“Look, Dad, you can see my toes!”
She smiled at me, fork in hand, completely disregarding the green beans.
“What?” I asked.
“You can see my toes!” she said again, and pointed to her wiggling piggies through the glass top. She had stretched her feet out to rest on the squares of the rattan-patterned table base, and she could see them through the table’s surface.
I looked at them too.
“Take a picture of my feet in diamonds,” she said.
Right. They weren’t squares. They were turned sideways. They were diamonds. It was a diamond pattern.
And as I gazed at them through the glass, the sentence she uttered hung in the air, bouncing around in my head like an echo.
Savvy’s feet in diamonds.
Of course I took a picture.
And it occurred to me that John Lennon was probably telling the truth after all. I feel like I owe him an apology somehow.