While the sun goes 'round
I'll still be found
Following the sound
Something's calling me
Rest in Peace, Jerry.
I think it’s a little strange that my little cousin River, whom I was babysitting today, asked completely on his own if we could watch “Fraggle Rock”. I got him and his older brother Cliff into watching it several months ago, but whenever I expressed interest in watching it when I was over, they would say “Nah, let’s watch ‘Avatar’!” (The show not the movie/s.)
River also asked to watch “Labyrinth” while we were finishing up “The Secret of Nimh.” (Which Paul Williams wrote the theme for.)
Cliff was at camp, so the house was remarkably calm. River wanted to eat lunch, then go outside for bubbles… and back inside because of mosquito, finish lunch, and finally “Oh! Fraggle Rock! Please?”
He’s four and can’t read just yet, so every episode I clicked down on the Netflix menu he exclaimed “I want that one! That’s a good one.”
I ignored him, went right for the episode where Mokey joins the Minstrels.
He glanced at the TV while the theme bounced along. He pulled out the “Cars” legos, which I would end up building, but he could hand me the pieces I showed him and take the credit when everything was finished.
Cantus’ flute began and River’s head whipped around. I didn’t say anything, but I felt proud and like I had done some good in the world just by convincing the boys “This is a good show, I promise you’ll like it!” sometime last year. River finally looked away when the song was over, but the legos never had his full attention when there were singing Fraggles on the screen.
We didn’t actually watch any Gobo heavy episodes. The second episode was where Marjory is moved and it changes her. I didn’t pay particular attention to it either. But I don’t regret not having done so. I baby sit him tomorrow and we’ll watch some more “Fraggle Rock”. I’ll find a good Gobo-centric one… or three.
River is nearly the same age I was when Jim Henson died. I doubt that Jerry’s characters will be on the cover of TIME, honestly, but it’s a strange feeling to know that River won’t know Jerry in the present tense. Maybe he’ll latch on to the Muppets like me and my brother did and he’ll know performers by name and be blogging about them in twenty years. And maybe he won’t. I sincerely doubt he’ll remember that we watch “Fraggle Rock” in the days surrounding Jerry’s death and that he asked me, not the other way around, twenty years from now.
I don’t remember Jim Henson dying. I knew he was gone, I think. I remember watching “The Jim Henson Hour” and thinking how amazing Jim was, how friendly and how great getting a hug would be from him. And how awesome that white lion was.
Death usually brings awareness and appreciation. Either to someone’s work, or life in general. A lot of people say that the dead deserved to know, while they were still living, how much they were loved. We’re lucky, us fans, because I’m sure Jerry knew. We don’t have to worry about that. I think we’ll see a lot of The Count in the coming days, and i hope we can appreciate that a lot of people will discover, even if it’s only for a 3 minute news blurb, the man that we all knew was there the whole time, just below frame.
My favorite tiny memory of Jerry is a personal one. I never got to meet him but I did direct message him on Twitter when I discovered he had one. I asked him a question and he answered, though he didn’t know the info I was looking for. I thanked him anyway.
“You’re welcome, sunshine.” He replied. Jerry Nelson called me “sunshine”. And no, I will never stop telling people that. Not for as long as I live.
Jerry was a fantastic and moving performer, a terrific singer and someone that I will never, ever forget. He was the best smokey voiced ex-beatnik and the sweetest six year old frog. From all wise and all knowing pile of trash to a Fraggle who thought he was pretty wise and really cunning, and was usually kicked down a peg by the end of the episode… but boy did he have some groovy hats.
But most of all, best of all, Jerry Nelson was cooler than you. And that was awesome.