Sometimes, when I’m cruising along in the truck and listening to my iPod, a song will come on that transports me to another place and time. Most frequently, the song reminds me of a time with Toni – and that seems to happen not just with songs I specifically associate with her (like the ones we used in our wedding), but also with random songs that make me think of her. Occasionally, though, a song will take me back to college, or high school, or whenever.
On Monday, as I was on my way home from Sacramento, two songs did this.
The first one is “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” by The Rolling Stones. You can listen to it here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJUVt-nTS28). Every time I hear it, especially when I’m driving, I go back to one particular time when I was on my way home from Penn State. I drove a 1968 Jeep CJ-5 when I was in college, and I had installed a cassette player in it. One of the tapes I had was a Rolling Stones album with this song. On this particular trip, I was playing that tape on I-80 as I drove east from PSU. The song came on as I was climbing a grade in the middle of the night. There was no one else on the road that I could see, not even a trucker – and they were usually my only company on the night drives home. I don’t know if I would recognize that particular hill if I drove it now, but I can certainly see it in my mind’s eye every time I hear this song.
The second song is “Nothing But A Heartache” by the Flirtations. You can listen to it here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L8zu9Y5DgWE). This is one of several that regularly take me back to my high school years. Occasionally I got to take my mom’s car – a 1965 Ford Country Squire station wagon – and use it to go out with my friends. We regularly stopped at McDonald’s for food, and this song takes me back to the times when we’d all be eating in Mom’s car, driving down Route 60 in Richmond. I know I listened to the song at other times, too, but when I hear it now I can almost literally smell the french fries.
[By the way, I learned the origin of the term “station wagon” while I was at the Garlits Drag Racing Museum last month. They have a building that’s dedicated to antiques, and one of the cars in that part of the collection is described as a “depot hack” – that meant it was used at train depots to haul people and luggage. Over time, as “depot” became “station,” the car’s name changed, too – from “depot hack” to “station wagon.” At least, that’s what the descriptive card said.]
Sometimes the journeys aren’t physical at all.