Boy Story: Music in the Car

I. Three Years Old

“Daddy, again.”

“Daddy, again.”

“Daddy, again.”

“Daddy, again…”

II. Five Years Old

The summer the family moved to the Berkshires, this was our theme song for some reason, I guess the reason being that radio up here is awful and after you fruitlessly scan through the stations for a good song, you pop in any CD that might be lying around and John Prine’s Lost Dogs and Mixed Blessing was on the only CD that seemed to be in the car that summer.

We’d all sing along to our favorite song, “Lake Marie” — and it was strange for a five-year-old to know all the words to “Lake Marie,” I get that — sometimes from beginning to end, sometimes just the chorus and what became our respective “parts” (e.g., “And living on the two lakes…known as the…Twin Lakes…” “The wind was blowing…especially through her hair…” “And they was ssssssssssssssizling” “Shadows! That’s what it looks like.”).

But always, all of us, “Aah, baby. We gotta go now.” With feeling.

The next summer, it was replaced by Taylor Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble,” but I don’t think the wife and boy liked that song so much as they liked my singing along with the “Now I’m lying on the cold hard ground…Oh! Oh! Trouble, trouble, trouble!” and “When your saddest fear…comes creeping in…that you never loved me or her or anyone or anything…Yeah…” bits. With feeling, it’s true, but not the same kind of feeling.

“Lake Marie,” on the other hand, we all really loved.

Standing by peaceful waters.

Aaaaaaaaaaah, baby.

We gotta go now

Eight Years Old

“Dad, I like this song.”

“It’s really good, isn’t it?”

“It’s really, really good.”

“Son, this was the music of my youth.”




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Albert Stern

Albert Stern

Normal, but more so.

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