car·riage re·turn

n. the lever or mechanism on a typewriter that would cause the cylinder on which the paper was held (the carriage) to return to the left margin of the page

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I’m Free From The Chain Gang Now

Johnny Cash
26 February,1932 –12 September,2003
Johnny Cash

Johnny Cash,my all-time favorite recording artist,died the day I turned 21.

I woke up early to read the news before heading to class (I was in training school at this point).  I was stationed out in the middle of the Mojave Desert at the time,and Stan the Mad Russian,who was my roommate,and I kept up with the doings of the world via an Earthlink connection.  I logged on and brought up the morning news,only to read a headline I wasn’t ready to see.

At age 71,The Man in Black had passed on.  Respiratory failure,brought on by diabetes-related complications,had silenced the most iconic of American voices.

Choked up,I called my dad,the man who had introduced me to Johnny Cash as a kid.  We talked about his death,his music,and the emptiness that must have plagued him following the passing of his wife June in the spring.  Saddened as we were,we didn’t mention the big event in our own lives 21 years earlier,and soon I hung up the phone,got dressed,and went to class.

It’s been an empty three years in American music since Johnny Cash left us.  The American V album has compensated a bit,but it’s impossible to fill the void left when that voice,bigger than the sky over Montana,deeper than Lake Superior,and more American than Mt. Rushmore,left when it was silenced early that morning.

I’ll fly a starship across the Universe divide
And when I reach the other side
I’ll find a place to rest my spirit if I can
Perhaps I may become a highwayman again
Or I may simply be a single drop of rain
But I will remain
And I’ll be back again,and again and again and again and again

- Johnny Cash’s verse of “Highwayman”by The Highwaymen

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