Thursday, October 8, 2009

Old Souls and Free Spirits

It takes me 45 minutes to get to and from work these days. I don’t mind most of the time because I like to sing with the car radio and the views are pretty. It’s nice to have that time to myself to think about everything or nothing, however the canyon road moves me.

When I was growing up my dad cleaned on Sunday mornings. To make the task go by faster he would play his far out records. Records my mom came to refer to as his “boing-boing” music because of the wild melodies and the raucous resonance. The record player console was in the dining room where the sun caught the glass from the patio.

Once in a while, the old man would bestow upon me the great responsibility of choosing the cleaning music. Picking out a record is the first recollection music I have. When it was my turn to choosethe music, without fail, I would carefully slide the enthralling LP out of a box. I always found the record with children like me on the cover and was delighted. It was the first piece of art I thought was truly beautiful, even then. I was haunted by the sea-children climbing on rocks for many years. Much later, I realized the album was Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy.

My job was to dust with Windex, and I carefully sprayed every surface more than liberally and loved the smell always taking great care to get every spot on the coffee table. It was a special treat when my mother would have me dust all of her fragile pieces in the china cabinet. The sun would gleam on the clean glass and it made me happy. My dad loved the album. As he cleaned, he probably thought about everything or nothing, however the record moved him.

About three years later, I tagged along with my dad to the car wash to help him wash the Ford Econoline before we headed East for Christmas vacation. I was probably eight when we took this small voyage. I was always his little tag-along kid on these small errands. “Crimson and Clover” by Tommy James and Shondells started to play on the oldies station. We sang along and after the song was over, my dad told me about how innovative that song was in it’s time. I didn’t really know what he was talking about, but I felt important because he always spoke to me like I was a grown-up.

As we drove home from the car wash, we listened to more oldies and were happy. I was eight and my young mind was thinking about everything of nothing. When Christmas season comes around, I always throw “Crimson and Clover” into the music mix with all of the Christmas carols.

I grew fast, as kids do. I lived with my parents when I was nineteen and unfortunately, did not have many friends with the same music taste. When the Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young tour came to St. Paul, Minnesota, I had no friends volunteering to check out the show with me. My dad bought us tickets and it was the first time the two of us went to a concert together.

The show was stunning. I was so happy. That night we spoke about everything and nothing, however Neil Young moved us. I still have the ticket stub in a box of mementos.

My dad and I have always had music in common. There were teenage years when it was hard to relate to one another and it seemed the space between what we thought and knew was a million miles. More years have passed and now I am in my twenties, and he is in his fifties. The miles are now space and distance between our doorsteps. He came to visit this last week and it is not too hard to catch up these days. All we need to do is throw a CD into the boom box and visit at the house, put a quarter into the jukebox while sitting on a barstool, or listen to the radio on a car trip and the time and distance doesn’t seem to matter anymore. We still talk about everything and nothing and in these conversations we are happy.


  1. My folks used to drag me to shows as a kid- I was the only 9 year old who knew Jethro Tull, and I still kind of feel cool about that.

  2. My dad and I totally bond over music too! it's so great that you have that kind of relationship that can be connected through some good tunes! :)


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