Thursday, April 27, 2006

Blue Cars, Blue Songs

Today as I was driving, I saw a 1970 Duster driving down the road and it jarred loose some nostalgia I had hidden in the layers.

You see, I once owned a '70 Duster-back in the day. I'd love to tell you that it was my first car, because then I could be spared the embarrassment of telling you what my first car actually was. My first car was actually a 'boat'! And when I say boat, I mean it was the quintessential car-that-could've-doubled-as-a boat. A 1964 Oldsmobile Dynamic 88. Oh baby! Burgundy exterior. White interior. Forty-two feet long. Four doors. Bench seats. AM Radio.(Is that drool I see dangling from your lower lip?...I thought not.) The only slightly redeeming value of it was, it was SO ugly that birds wouldn't even waste their time crapping on it. I mean, you know you've got a cool car when you can hear the birds flying over saying "whoa whoa whoa, not yet! If I can just hold it for another second or two..." Which brings me back to my first REAL car...the Duster. Now that was a car! Medium blue with a black interior. Four on the floor and wickedly fast. But, my favorite part was perched there in the dash. Yeah. A Craig eight-track tape player connected to four coax speakers that cranked out the best music the 70's had to offer. Aerosmith, The Eagles, Boston, Chicago, The Little River Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, ELO, Bread, Fleetwood Mac, The Cars, The Doobie Brothers, Earth Wind and Fire, Kansas, Elton John, Billy Joel, Olivia Newton-John, John Denver, Steely Dan, Loggins and Messina, just to mention a few. And, at the time, ALL of these artists were just hitting their stride. They were not the oldies-they were just HOT! But my all-time favorite tape was James Taylor's Greatest Hits.

To this day, "Something In The Way She Moves" ranks right up there as one of my favorite songs. I thought James (he and I have been on a first name basis ever since, ever since I can remember) wrote that song just for me. For me to sing to my as of yet to be found beloved. Is that cheesy or what? Oh well, sometimes the truth reeks of cheese. Although I look back on those days fondly now, at the time they were lonely. I was a painfully shy kid in those days so I had few friends. Usually it was just me, James, and the Duster. Ole James never seemed to mind me singing along to his beautifully simple songs. If I messed up the syncopation here or there, or if I couldn't finish the line because of the sadness in my throat, he'd just oblige and keep on singing. I could always click the track selector button four times and join him the next time around. I dreamed that someday I'd find someone to 'look my way or call my name'. I dreamed of those 'Berkshires (that) seemed dreamlike on account of that frosting', I wanted to be that 'young cowboy'. I wanted to 'take to the highway', I was 'down and troubled and needed a helping hand', I pleaded 'don't let me be lonely tonight'. But I was okay because, no matter what, my friend James was there singing this to me: 'winter, spring, summer or fall, all you got to do is call and I'll be there, yes I will, you got a friend.' That's all I needed to know.

Isn't it strange how something like a car passing by can affect my thoughts like that? Does this ever happen to you?


Steph said...

You SO stole my Berkshires line!!! :)

John said...

Steph-how does that go?? Imitation is the highest form of flattery? Yeah, I think that's it. :)

Steph said...

...and by the way, what takes me back is "Cool Change" by the Little River Band. And SO many others!

work in progress said...

I have a tape player in my car, and ONE tape that stays in there at all times. You guessed it! It's Mr Taylor's greatest hits, (we're not on a first name basis).

My brain has very interesting thought patterns. I have the attention span of a 5 year old, so yes, I can certainly relate to your thought process. Sometimes I'll backtrack just to figure out how my brain got the where it is.

Anonymous said...

"...when I'm well you can tell she's been with me now...." etc. I will sing it in my head all day and when I get alone in the car....I'll belt "..yes and I feel fine.."

Actually I never owned an eight track but I do know what Dusting is about. Orange, jacked up rear end and fatties for rear wheels. Keith was cool in his six cylender three speed.

I thought I was cool in my Blue Super Beetle. Do you remeber that? A 1972 Chick Magnet. Did you ever ride in it.

Great to see you at the wedding. I wanted to toast Modo...never got around to it...thanks for the input though.


John said...

Mark-I remember the blue bug! You had it at Firwood and would drive like a posessed man on the back road out of camp. I loved that!