I can’t believe that Memorial Day is just days away! Summer is thisclose and I’m dazed by how quickly time is passing. Before I know it, I’ll be making plans for Thanksgiving Dinner and Christmas shopping, but until then, my most immediate plans are farmer’s markets, watching the robins pick at the worms in the freshly mowed lawn, and long lazy weekends in the backyard.
I woke up this morning to the familiar warm air and crisp smell of a day when you don’t even have to look at the calendar to know that June is coming. I opened the window wider and leaned my head against the frame, closed my eyes, took a deep breath in, letting my senses take me back as my mind replayed for me in no particular order, the movies of summers past:
Sitting on my parents’ patio with the radio on and a fresh glass of ice tea next to me, soaking up the sun like a lizard and listening to some new singer by the name of Madonna;
Driving around in my parents GMC pacer with the windows rolled down and my red mini-boom box strapped to the passenger seat because there was no radio, blasting Bryan Adams, “Summer of ‘69”;
Working at a private pool for the summer hearing Don Henley sing about the “Boys of Summer”;
Going with my best friend to the local public pool. The air permeated with the smell of chlorine and French fries, and the cries of “Marco” “Polo” were mixed in with Bananerama’s “It’s a Cruel Summer” and the Motels singing about “Suddenly Last Summer”;
I remember days of jumping through a sprinkler because there was no other way to cool off, and when there wasn’t a sprinkler, my husband and I became nine years old again throwing water balloons at each other and chasing each other around the back yard with Super Soakers as the Beach Boys, “In My Room”, Eddie Cochran’s “Summertime Blues”, and David Lee Roth’s version of “California Girls” played on the stereo.
I let these memories continue to play as I started my day and headed out the door to go to work, which brought back its own memories of traveling the Garden State Parkway.
Being a Jersey Girl, driving down the shore was a rite of passage with traffic so thick you could hold a conversation with the people in the car next to you for a few exits until the next toll. Strains of music could be heard from each car’s own choice of summer tunes, but nothing, absolutely nothing beats a Bruce Springsteen song on those parkway drives with all the windows down and the volume cranked to the belting of “The highway’s jammed with broken heroes on a last chance power drive….” Call me jaded, call me old, but I don’t care—when I hear that line, it still makes me smile and gives me goose bumps.
I never realized until today how much of a role music played as a part of those summer memories. Every one of them has a soundtrack—anything by John Mellencamp, Bruce Springsteen, and The Eagles; “Summer Breeze,” by Seals and Crofts; “School’s Out,” by Alice Cooper; “Saturday in the Park,” by Chicago, “Under the Boardwalk,” by The Drifters; “Hot Fun in the Summertime,” by Sly and the Family Stone, and on it goes.
My summer soundtrack for this year is still to come and I’m looking forward to creating new memories with maybe some new songs. With this last thought, I made the final turn into the parking lot of my office. Shifting into park, my hand stopped midway to the radio to shut it off when the unmistakable first beats of Mungo Jerry came on the radio…“In the Summer time when the weather is hot…” You’ve got to be kidding. Serendipity at it’s best. I laughed out loud and stayed to listen to the song smiling all the way.
Yeah baby—welcome to summer! What’s your soundtrack?