He was standing on the opposite side of the glass, his hair hanging lank across his head in the Dominican humidity. Could it be him?
I thought I'd seen John Prine walk by as I lounged by the resort pool, sipping the umpteenth beer of the afternoon. My senses dulled by alcohol and idyllic setting, I couldn't be sure. Plus, the sight of the man, whom I heard as a voice of the snowbound Midwest, seemed incongruous with the tropical setting. But later in the week, there he was again, closer this time, one of my favorite songwriters in the flesh -- just on the other side of the glass door.
I smiled a thin smile that he must have interpreted as a sign of recognition, because he thought twice about coming into the resort office and instead walked on. I couldn't blame him. I gathered our luggage and went to meet our ride to the airport. As I took in the last vestiges of paradise before getting back on a plane for frigid New Jersey, I saw him milling about the resort entrance. I thought about approaching him.
But what is there to say to someone like him, someone who has lived more in a three-minute song than most people have in a lifetime. In hind sight, it's easy. You say thank you. And I regret not saying it.