Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Behind the Wheel

I heard something on television this Sunday morning that started the wheels in my head to turn. A music critic was talking about the summer that he got his driver’s license and the music and memories he had from that time.

I instantly knew what he was talking about; I closed my eyes and it was the Summer of 1978.

It’s hot, my friends and I are cruisin' town with the windows rolled down, the music is loud and we're circling the court square just ONE MORE TIME. The Commodores are probably coming through our speakers, maybe Player is singing “Baby Come Back” or Clapton is trying to get Sally to lay down. I’m not exactly sure. I DO know that we are singing along and hoping that the next song is really good - if it isn’t we might run in WSJP radio station and ask the DJ, Ronnie D. Payne, to play “our favorite”. Before long we’ll make a run for the Dairy Queen and get a Coke, hang out for a few in the parking lot, then we’ll be back to our endless circuit.

Gas was an average of 62 CENTS a gallon that summer. So, cruising and listening to the radio wasn’t an expensive pastime, besides, what else were we going to do?

I’m giving away my age here, but it will thirty years ago this week that I earned my “privilege” to drive legally (one that some say that I abuse!). Isn’t interesting how closely tied our experience of driving and music is? They just seem to go hand-in-hand.

All these years later, I’m still driving and still loving the music from the radio. Especially when the weather is warm and I can roll the windows down - ‘cause even now, when a certain song or two comes on, I can just imagine, for a fleeting moment, that I am sixteen again.

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