Fourteen

A beard and mustache like smudges on the face

long and thick brown hair pinned up to play baseball

faded bell-bottom blue jeans with a large hole in the rear

and no undies underneath

white high-top canvas shoes

hand-painted fluorescent orange

a worn white tee-shirt with a green marijuana leaf in the center of the chest

under by a torn military fatigue shirt signed by everyone met

worn open like a jacket

quoting Asimov, Clapton, Kirk, and Clemente

reading Leary, Chekov, Dumas, Tolkien, Heller, and Knowles

listening to the Stones, Humble Pie, Cream, Jimi, Janis, and Bob

dancing to Sly, Chicago, Three Dog Night, and EW&F

runnin’, walkin’ and bikin’ to go anywhere and everywhere

through any weather and across any terrain

That’s the fourteen-year-old that I remember.

Advertisements

Saturday’s Theme Music

After staggering out of bed and then using the bathroom, I started feeding the cats. “I Am the Walrus” by the Beatles from waaayyy back in 1968 when I was twelve, began streaming in my head. “I am the eggman — woo — they are the eggman — woo — I am the walrus. Goo goo g’ joob.”

WTH? Why? It’s another mind mystery, innit, a nonsense song in a nonsense world after some nonsense dreams. Guess it’ll work for a quiet summer day that seems like a warm autumn day, as though the seasons have been turned into a jigsaw puzzle that need to be assembled.

Listen to it. Let me know what you think. Goo goo g’ joob.

 

Unforgotten

Memories,

I make them now,

so far my brain hasn’t forgotten how.

Time shoots by in a quickening blast

and I recall with fondness a nebulous past.

Starry-eyed and glittery mind, I used to look ahead.

Now, sometimes, it’s wearying getting out of bed.

My oceans of thoughts seem dark but calm,

a prelude, or harbinger, of a once-remembered song.

I seek comfort, I seek reminders, I seek the past,

even though I know, like the future,

it never lasts.

 

 

Tuesday’s Theme Music

This one comes completely via the memory stream, inserted their by a friend’s Facebook post.

When I was fifteen, I’d listen to this McDonald and Giles tune, “Tomorrow’s People – the Children of Today” (1971) on my old phonograph player. A quarter weighed the arm down against the needle skipping. I’d acquired some huge speakers and wired this hybrid stereo. I’d put this on, lay down, and listen to it at a soft volume. I found it relaxing and reassuring.

Bittersweet to hear this song, then and now. It’s about children playing in sunshine. One set of lines that always strikes me:

And who will open their eyes
To see what they can see
And then while looking around
Feel the warmth of reality

h/t to Genius.com

At the time I listened to this, I’d left Mom’s home and was living with my Dad. He was in the Air Force and freshly back from overseas assignments. I read and drew a lot, a loner, listening to music. I’d known families back then where the children lived in hard misery, parents who tortured their children with cigarettes or made them stay in a closet for hours in the dark. It was monstrous to think of adults treating children like that. Then, of course, I matured and discovered that there are adults who brutalize children and delight in it.

I admit, I never thought my government, the government that I joined and supported during my military years, would ever be part of the monstrosities we’re learning about in the Trump Camps. I’m ashamed and mortified.

Sorry that it’s such a downer of a post. Probably shouldn’t write this things until I’ve had at least a sniff of freshly brewed coffee to mitigate my dark side.

Saturday’s Theme Music

Today’s song, “It’s Only Rock n’ Roll (But I Like It)” came out in 1974. I consider this song part of the theme music for my eighteenth year of life. I graduated high school, turned eighteen years old, and joined the U.S. Air Force in 1974. I think the song celebrates my attitude toward rock and roll; it’s just music, but —

I use the song for references, to celebrate, and to time-travel through memories as surely as Marcel Proust’s madeleines. I know it’s only rock and roll, and not significant in many universal schemes (although there’s a potential story, there, isn’t there, about how rock and roll changes things?), but I like it.

The song’s opening, too, offers exasperated questioning about the past and new expectations.

If I could stick my pen in my heart
And spill it all over the stage
Would it satisfy ya, would it slide on by ya
Would you think the boy is strange? Ain’t he strange?

h/t to AZlyrics.com

I’ve found that opening question appropriate for my life. What will it take to satisfy the bosses, lovers, friends, family, and gods? Each employs a different measuring system. The tricks are to find what works, what annoys them and causes me enough pain to avoid doing it again, and then monitor it all for changes – ’cause change is, like, you know, probable. Beyond all that shit, it’s a great song to sing to my stream as I walk or drive on my lonesome.

 

Tareytons Are Better

Being part of this era of pop-culture and consumer living is wonderful. We witness the rise and fall of trends, and technology grants us visitation rights with what was then and how it was done.

I grew up in the cigarette culture. Born in 1956, the doctors and nurses were probably smoking when I was delivered. Everyone was smoking in the 1960s. Movie and television stars used cigarettes as props for being cool, sophisticated, and fashionable. Mom and Dad smoked while doing everything from working on the car (yeah, that was a thing, then, and it was probably not a safe thing) to entertaining guests. Children stole cigarettes and smoke in secret to be like their parents. A smoky haze filled bars, airplanes, and restaurants.

I didn’t smoke cigarettes. I smoke marijuana, a little hash, and then cigars and pipes, but never cigarettes (yea, me?). I never smoked much of any of it, and quit any smoking thirteen years ago. I have sometimes vaped some marijuana since then.

I was thinking about the cigarette smoking and their commercials, jingles, and slogans. Do you know about those days, when cigarette advertising was as dominant as medicine advertising now is? If not, you should learn about “Tareytons are better, charcoal is why,” and cigarettes that were made for women, or manly cigarettes like Camels and Marlboros, and the meaning behind LSMFT*.

We made fun of it all back then. Winston had a jingle about how good their cigarettes were. I’ve included that below. We sang a different song about Winstons.

“Winstons taste bad, like the one I just had. No filter, no flavor, just toilet paper.”

 

* LSMFT – Lucky Strikes Mean Fine Tobacco.

Sunday’s Theme Music

I’m once again streaming 1974, another year in which things happened, other things changed, and everything kept going almost as though nothing had happened. For me, I graduated high school, turned eighteen, joined the military and left home, in that order.

Today’s theme music, “Only Solitaire”, arrives via a miasma polluting the thinking stream. Jethro Tull’s Warchild album was being streamed, but thinking about a particular individual, the stream’s thread narrowed to “Only Solitaire”. It’s a short and simple song.

Brain-storming habit-forming battle-warning weary
winsome actor spewing spineless chilling lines —
the critics falling over to tell themselves he’s boring
and really not an awful lot of fun.
Well who the hell can he be when he’s never had V.D.,
and he doesn’t even sit on toilet seats?
Court-jesting, never-resting
he must be very cunning
to assume an air of dignity
and bless us all with his oratory prowess,
his lame-brained antics and his jumping in the air.
And every night his act’s the same
and so it must be all a game of chess he’s playing
“But you’re wrong, Steve: you see, it’s only solitaire.”

h/t to Collecting-tull.com

It’s a short song, a few ticks more than a minute and a half.

Imprinted

We heard a story…

Everyone had grown up and left the home, nurturing their lives, careers, and dreams. Somehow, though, they began having Sunday dinner together every week. Mom was so overjoyed that she made their favorite every week, which was southern fried chicken.

I immediately recalled watching Mom go through her fried-chicken process in our little ranch style home in the mid 1960s. Starting with a whole chicken, she would wash it and rub it down with cold water and then burn the remains of the feathers off over the gas burner. Truthfully, I never saw any feathers. I don’t know if Mom saw any, either, but this was her process.

Next, she washed the chicken again, and then dried it, and cut it into pieces. The pieces were dipped in egg, and then rolled in white flour with salt and pepper. She fried it in grease from her drippings collection in a big electric skillet. (Crisco later replaced the drippings.) The chicken was vigilantly watched and turned. When judged ready, they were removed and put on paper towels so excess grease could drip off.

I know her process well, and know how her fried chicken tasted as well. Nothing like grabbing a cold piece of fried chicken out of the refrigerator for a late-evening snack. Like many things she made for us to eat in those years, it ruined things for me later. I’ve always been looking for something that tastes as good as Mom’s. When you’ve had the best, it’s imprinted.

In My Neck…

In my neck of existence, back when I was a child, snowstorms meant listening to the AM radio to see if school was canceled. Snowstorms meant bundling up to go outside to play in this substance, to sled, build, explore, and experience. The storms meant returning home to hot tomato soup with a grilled cheese sandwich with a dill pickle, or a cup of hot cocoa.

Snowstorms changed our neighborhood sounds, forcing out the usual ruckus in favor of cars’ soft sibilant hissing, or a spinning whine as tires looked for a bite in the slick mess. Rhythmic chains, clicking studs, and the snowplows’ grinding blades broke the stillness, enhancing the ambiance.

The house was hot and the outside was frigid. Sunshine seemed hidden by infinite layers. Trees were starkly outlined, but cars and houses were buried.

Snowstorms made the day special as routines bent and fractured under the snow’s weight. Now I anticipate the snowstorm for days, hoping it’ll return some of childhood’s joys when the snow closes us in, but the storms rarely stand up to hopes.

At least, in my neck of experience.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: