Heather Smith

Christmas, a time to celebrate the birth of a great man, one Henry John Deutschendorf, aka John Denver.

As those closest to me know, John Denver is my guilty pleasure. You know, I always say that … guilty pleasure. And why? Is there something embarrassing about having a thing for John Denver? I think not. Therefore, I am now mentally putting a giant X over the word ‘guilty’ with my imaginary Sharpie. There. That’s better. John Denver is simply … my pleasure.

What is it about JD that I love? His voice, for starters. John Denver’s voice puts me in a peculiar state of relaxation. Trance-like, almost. That’s not so unusual is it? After all, people get high off music all the time, don’t they? Kraftwerk gives my husband an electronic kind of a buzz - for my dear old Dad it’s Pavarotti that sends him flying. But John Denver? He gives me a special kind of high. A rocky mountain one, to be exact.

A few years back I switched on PBS and there it was: The Wildlife Concert. I was suddenly afflicted with some kind of paralysis in my clicker hand. I watched the entire thing. I didn’t even care that it was pledge week. When the old folks appeared on the screen to babble on about money I just sat back, totally relaxed, basking in the glory of what I had just heard. I closed my eyes and imagined myself prancing through the plains of Colorado in a pair of bell-bottoms when who do I happen across but John Denver himself. He’s sitting cross-legged on the ground playing “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” on his acoustic guitar. He takes one look at me through his wire rimmed granny glasses and says “Far out!”

A night in with John Denver on the telly makes me want to scrub down from head to toe with a bar of Irish Spring until I achieve a healthy, squeaky clean glow. It makes me want to put on a sweatshirt adorned with the print of a bald eagle soaring gracefully over the Rockies and slip into a pair of crocheted slippers with baubles on the toes. John Denver makes me feel square. And sometimes it’s hip to be square.

The only thing that makes me happier than sunshine on my shoulders is John Denver’s voice in my heart. Go ahead, stick your fingers down your throat and pretend to gag. I don’t care.

John Denver was a great man, a talented singer-songwriter, a passionate environmentalist, and an outstanding humanitarian. On December 31 please remember this respectable, bespectacled fellow.
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5 Responses
  1. A lovely tribute, Heather.
    Merry Christmas!

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Oh Heather...
    You should have been with me at the Denver SLA conference when the had the John Denver impersonator during the free lunch.
    He was nothing compared to the real thing.
    Merry Merry & Happy Happy!!

  3. I would've loved it! Did he sing Sunshine on my Shoulders?

  4. Anonymous Says:

    Of course! All the librarians had tears in their eyes...including me, but there was something on my contact lens. Seriously, you should not be embarassed to love JD - the Carpenters on the other hand...

  5. Iron Monkey Says:

    John Denver looks like a rugged wimp in that pic.

    Well your JD love is finally out of the closet, how does it feel to publicly embrace your in Denverite at long last?

    However, I'll take "We Are The Robots" over "Thank God I'm a Country Boy" any day... :)

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