the glen jones radio program

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Popp, Bennie, and Burns: Sunday Will Never Be the Same

Published March 1, 2019 by Maryanne

sdc13108Sunday at the beach (photo by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta)

Do you love Sundays?

I used to love Sundays.

Sundays were always special for me and my husband. When we first started dating, we’d spend many Sundays down the shore. On our drive down, we listened to our favorite radio show, The Glen Jones Radio Program, Featuring X-Ray Burns. (http://www.wfmu.org/Playlists/GJ/archives.html)

Jones has eclectic tastes in music. You could hear both Frank Sinatra and The Psychedelic Furs in the same set. Then there was the talk segment where Jones and Burns would muse about New Jersey subculture like our local drinking joints and pork roll (or Taylor Ham)? In fact, one time at one of their lives shows, Jones chased me trying to feed me a pork roll (or Taylor Ham) sandwich. (And I’m a vegetarian). That’s the kind of fun this freeform radio show offered. No wonder it was part of our Sunday routine.

Once we got down the shore, on a Sunday, we’d often pay a surprise visit to our dear friends Daniel and Patty Popp. Very special friends; they were our witnesses when we eloped. At the Popp’s home, they couldn’t do enough for you. With Daniel being both a cook and a musician, there was always plenty of food and music in their home—a great place to be on a Sunday.

In more recent years, my husband and I started spending more of our Sundays at home, relaxing in the backyard. Last summer, a beautiful feral cat started showing up in our backyard. We named him Bennie. He was so friendly, we fell in love with him. According to the vet, Bennie had FIV, a feline auto-immune disorder, which meant if he got sick, it would be tougher for him to get over it. But we took him in anyway and gave him a happy home. He was only 3-years-old. He was a ginger cat, sunny and bright; our Sunday cat.

They say death comes in threes. Beginning on February 1, our Sunday memories were taken from us, one by one.

Daniel Popp was in his kitchen and just finished cooking food for the homeless, something he did each month. His wife Patty found him lying on the kitchen floor unconscious. He was taken to the hospital and passed. Daniel was a genuine, good-hearted person, who was so talented and so much fun. We were shocked. Absolutely shocked. Not a dry eye at his funeral. And miss him terribly. RIP Daniel Popp.

Sunday will never be the same.

The day after Daniel’s funeral, our kitty Bennie’s health declined rapidly. We had been treating him for an eye infection—or so we thought. He was eating, but not processing the food. He was losing weight quickly and also started having tremors. An emergency trip to the animal hospital and two vet visits later, we learned he had a brain tumor and didn’t stand a chance. Even though Bennie was a little fighter, we still had to put him down—the day after Valentine’s Day, ironically because Bennie was a saint, the best cat I ever had. After we put him down, my legs buckled, and I collapsed into my husband’s arms. We loved him so much. RIP Bennie.

Sunday will never be the same.

The following Sunday, my husband and I were done. Spent. No ambition or desire to do a damn thing. But I had to get groceries. I hopped in the car and as I always do on Sunday, turned on the radio. Glen Jones was playing very sad music. During the first break, X-Ray Burns wasn’t with him to banter. Jones made an announcement that X-Ray Burns was struggling with lung cancer.

Tears started pouring down my eyes.

Jones played some more sad songs, then he came back on to say that X-Ray’s wife called him. X-Ray Burns had passed—and it wasn’t a joke.

My husband and I were already zombies to begin with, and now shared more tears together. Rest in Peace X-Ray Burns.

Sunday will never be the same.

Three lives taken from us, way too soon. Daniel Popp and X-Ray Burns were in their 50s. And Bennie was only 3.

But I’ve learned something from all of them. Daniel taught me to reach out to others. Bennie taught me to keep fighting no matter what life’s circumstances. And X-Ray taught me to stay fun and crazy because life is way too short. And with a blink of an eye, it will never be the same.

That’s it.

SAM_3017.JPGDaniel Popp, Rest in Peace (photo by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta)

52905284_2210313879190578_8382678320906502144_nBennie Cat, Rest in Peace

Glen JonesX-Ray Burns, Rest in Peace

(Left to right, X-Ray Burns, Glen Jones, Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta)

Sunday will never be the same.