When I was growing up, nobody told me how much I would miss the sound of a well thrown football and the sting of its laces when it hits your hands. If “they” did tell me, I don’t remember. I would love to feel that again.
When a ball of any kind is thrown accurately, and is caught purely, and held securely, there is a satisfaction of senses that borders euphoria. The sight, the sound, and the feeling of catching a ball was what life was all about for me – until about 7th grade. Around 7th grade, the sight and the sound and the feeling of catching a girl seemed to supersede sandlot games. They’re two very different sports, but if you are passionate, you can get just as dirty and just as sore with either one.
Tom Waits is singing to me about how much he loves his ‘Jersey Girl’, his voice and his delivery are haunting – I believe he truly loves this girl. I’d like to get a look at her – she’s gotta be amazing. His passion is stirring mine.
Remember the sound of a baseball or a softball as it pops your glove? Remember what the ‘sweet spot’ of the bat felt like?
Remember when the sound of the Good Humor man’s truck bells would send you racing home to get a buck from your mom or dad? Remember how much it sucked when they said, “…we have ice cream in the freezer, Honey? Get yourself a bowl of that. It’s Sealtest, vanilla!” Then you looked out the window and saw all the other kids gnashing away on a Nutty Buddy, or a Toasted Almond, or a Strawberry Shortcake. Maybe one of your brothers or sisters, who managed their allowance a little better than you did, was partaking too…just made it worse. And even though you were only 7, you still said, “Fuck Sealtest” under your breath as you bent one of the “big” spoons trying to get the vanilla, grocery store bought, crap…tested by seals, out of the cardboard carton.
Remember what it was like to go to a record store? Could you spend hours in a record store and buy nothing? But on another day, could you go to a record store and spend $80 in 15 minutes?
Did your record store have the smell of incense burning, and the “under the radar” album being played by the arrogant music geek/weed dealer behind the counter? Do you remember how he or she looked at you with all that contempt when you bought a Bee Gees album, or maybe Earth Wind & Fire…and he was playing Dylan, Pink Floyd or Bonnie Raitt? Remember thinking that you couldn’t wait until you were a little older, and got a “real job”, like at a grocery store, or at a marina, and started making some serious bucks and you would drive back to the record shop, park in the front row in your brand new Trans Am, and buy all his inventory, and have him carry it to your car…your brand new Trans Am car? Remember how that revenge fantasy never came true?
Do you remember the first time you heard Bonnie Raitt sing Runaway? Remember how you thought the record store jerk at least got that one right?
But forgetting the jerk in the record store; do you remember how cool it was when a new record hit the stores? The ones that I remember racing out to get were, The Eagles, Hotel California, Van Halen II, Fleetwood Mac, Rumors, and Boston, Don’t Look Back, but I know there were hundreds more. I think I have somewhere in the neighborhood of about 800 LPs stored in my attic. I actually purchased a lot more than that, but my friend DJ easily stole about 2 or 3 hundred more from me. He never really understood the concept that when you take something without asking, it’s not “borrowing”, it’s stealing. What are you gonna do?
Remember listening to the album, and the words to the songs (we didn’t call them “lyrics” back then, they were “the words to the songs”) were written on the paper record sleeve, or on the inner fold of the cardboard album jacket? Remember when the words seemed like they were written just for you? Remember how you could listen to just one song over and over…and over and over again?
Remember the subtle sounds of the pops and the static and the scratches when the needle first touched down on the record?
If you’ve ever caught a fish, do you remember what it was like when you were little, and how unbelievably exciting it was to reel that sucker in? If you haven’t been in a while, you should go – that feeling never goes away. I need to go again.
Remember the first time you put on a uniform? Football, baseball, soccer, basketball…cheerleader…whatever? Remember how cool it was? Did you get butterflies before games? Did you love the butterflies, or did you hate them?
Remember how amazing Abbey Road was? Remember how crazy all that Beatlemania stuff was? Paul was dead? Remember how cool their movies were? Remember how bummed you were when you got the news that they broke up? How stupid it seemed?
Remember watching someone changing a diaper, and thinking there is no fucking way I will ever put my hands that close to that nastiness? Then after you had a baby of your own, well…
Remember the campfire story, “Give Me My Golden Arm”?
Remember the first time someone of a different race was in your house? Did it seem like a big deal? Doesn’t that seem ridiculous now?
When you were a kid, could you lie in a grassy field and just stare at the sky, watching clouds…by yourself, or with a friend. Could you stare at the stars at night the same way?
Remember what it was like when the guy or girl who was the object of your affection looked back at you and smiled? Do you remember that energy? Do you remember that anticipation of seeing “the object” after they turned into a boy/girlfriend, and it was “a thing”? You “like liked” each other. Did you get butterflies? Did you love those butterflies?
Do you remember the first time you slow danced with a real girl or boy? Again, butterflies?
Will you ever admit to anyone that you sang along with The Captain and Tennille’s Love Will Keep Us Together? Or any Leo Sayer song?
Do you ever miss any of that stuff?
I do, but only in a fun way. I love the thought of what it might be like to experience and feel all these soul stirring things and events just one more time, because they were all amazing. It’s fun to consider how I might appreciate it all more today, because I understand the magic of it all.
But on the other hand, if you understand the magic while it’s happening, it’s not really magic anymore…it’s just a thing.
Thanks for reading.
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