Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Name That Tune

We were rolling through the Rockies
We were up above the clouds
When a station out of Jackson played that song
And it seemed to fit the moment
And the moment seemed to freeze
When we turned the music up and sang along
The Song Remembers When/Trisha Yearwood

Have you ever had a moment when you were having such a great time or something important was happening to you and the music on the radio fit the moment so well that you knew you would always remember that blip in time? And now every time you hear that song, you automatically think of that moment, no matter how long ago it was? I love this Trisha Yearwood song because it captures those times so well. I have a handful of landmark songs from my younger days. I purposefully keep them out of my iPod, because I don’t want them at my fingertips. I’m afraid if I play them too often they won’t seem so special. I like stumbling across them on the radio when I least expect it. I hadn’t stumbled across one in a long time until this past Saturday. I was channeling through the stations on my way to the grocery store when I happened upon the Turtles and suddenly I was seventeen again and Happy Together with my friends.

May, 1982. A week after prom and two weeks before graduation. The die was cast, our grades were totaled, and we were all racing towards the finish line of our high school education. I, along with all of my buds, was suffering from senior-itis. We were done with the big tests. We had ordered our caps and gowns, and we were giddy with the anticipation of our last summer together before college scattered us to different corners of the country. We were bent on having a good time, and I was certainly having a good time on that particular Sunday afternoon. It was sunny and warm, perfect convertible weather. My friends, J. and G., had picked me up in a green Carmen Gia convertible, and we were cruising through the streets of my little hometown with the top down and the radio turned up. J. and G. were the kind of friends you have a good time with no matter what you’re doing. The kind of friends who never make you mad and always make you belly laugh when you’re together. The kind of friends who embrace your flaws and defend you even if you’re wrong. The kind of friends who are hard to find when you’re an adult. The three of us were in rare form that day, laughing and singing and soaking up the sun. Happy Together came on the radio and we automatically started singing it…together…loudly. We sang the whole song, and when it was over we were silent for a minute or two. All of us were deep in thought, no doubt reflecting on how perfect the moment was. I knew then that I would always remember that moment.

We were so innocent then. We had no idea how quickly our worlds would change. Within two years J. would be having her first baby and abandoning her basketball scholarship and college plans. Within eight years G. would be dead of AIDS. He was gay when it wasn’t cool to be gay in a small rural town. He suffered a lot of ridicule as he struggled with his sexuality. In fact, a year after our rendition of Happy Together he was beaten up by a group of rednecks as we left a showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. They didn’t like his Frank N. Furter costume.

The three of us drifted apart while J. and I were at different colleges and G. was trying to find his way. I haven’t seen J. in 23 years. I miss her. I miss G.. But I could hear them with me in the car last Saturday, singing with The Turtles as I sat in the parking lot of the Food Giant. The song really does remember when, doesn’t it?


Mama Mia said...

music ALWAYS does this to me! And having lost a friend(s)to AIDS....well I think about it often.

Cruise Mom said...

Music has the same effect on me. There are songs that make me cry, even though they aren't the least bit sad, because of the memories they bring back...