I must say, I do come across Walmart displays that stop me short. A few weeks after coming across the dreaded pot holder loom that was the subject of my last post, I stopped short at this pair of foot massagers.
I wasn’t about to buy them but they certainly took me to another place. Allow me to explain, even at the risk of revealing, to those who don’t already know, just how strange I am.
It all goes back to 2005 when the House of Mars was down to one cat. No that’s not right. Technically,there was no House of Mars, so let’s just say the house without a name was down to one cat, Niles.
Niles had always been a cat who needed feline company, but 24 lb Fremont, who had always looked after him, had died of cancer in 2004,
Niles, left; Fremont, right
and pugnacious Dino who liked to fight with him went out one morning, never to return.
Oh, I didn’t mention Niles also had cancer, did I? So when he started howling and pacing around the house, my first thought was that the end was near. Always one to seek escapist routes I also thought He’s never been alone before. Maybe he’s just lonely. Since it was Saturday evening, a trip to the vet wasn’t possible, but a trip to an adoption fair the next day was – an adoption fair that just happened to be at the pet cemetery where our Fremont rests in peace.
So after a quick stop at Fremont’s grave to solicit his guidance, I found my self walking straight to a cage holding a spooning Marcel and Marceau who were an almost exact copy of Fremont and Niles.
Marcel, left; Marceau right
I brought The Brothers Mar home, and after a brief hissy orientation, they took poor sick Niles under wing. Marceau also took to chasing Marcel through the house, and even though they probably weighed all of six pounds each, they sounded like a herd of wild horses thundering across the hardwood floors. I wish I could say the three of them lived happily ever after, but I do like to think Fremont and Niles are. Niles succumbed to his cancer three months later.
(And since the house now belonged to The Brothers Mar, The House of Mars was born.)
I hear you screaming So what about the cat foot massagers ????? I’m getting to that; but first – two more things you need to know.
- Of all the cats I’ve had to put to sleep Niles death struck me hardest, as he was only 5 years old and the only truly sweet cat I’ve ever owned. (My apologies to the other eight, past and present).
- Since eighth grade, or thereabouts, I’ve found it comforting to link painful experiences to rock and roll songs. Its my process of letting go and accepting.
Not long after Niles’ passing, I happened to be driving to work when the Rolling Stones’ classic “Wild Horses” came on the radio. I share with you the lines that I associate with Niles last three months.
Childhood living is easy to do
The things you wanted I bought them for you
Graceless lady you know who I am
You know I can’t let you slide through my hands
Wild horses couldn’t drag me away
Wild, wild horses couldn’t drag me away
The things Niles wanted were Marcel and Marceau, his own private wild horses. And the last line?
Wild, wild horses we’ll ride them some day
So when I saw those massaging slippers, all I could think of was me,riding the Brothers Mar like a pair of water skis up in the celestial realm
……But not quite yet. – I hope.
I don’t k now about you but I can’t think of anything that transports me back to my teen summers quicker than old-time rock and roll. Throw in a lot full of classic 50’s cars, ’60’s era muscle cars, a 70’s coupe or two and I’m back there before you can say bell bottoms!
That’s why I make it one of my summer rituals to wander through the McDonald’s parking lot at Cortlandt Town Centre when the classic car lover faithful gather on Saturday evenings every summer to set up chairs no one ever sits on, and show off their babies.
Since the shopping center is home to Home Depot, A&P, Marshalls, Wal-Mart, Barnes & Noble, a ten theater movieplex, and three – oh glory,yes three – shoe outlets including my all-time favorite , DSW, chances are I’m there on Saturdays although I only visit t he car show once a summer – when the music speaks to me.
You can hear it from near and far, Some times it’s The Rolling Stones, getting no satisfaction, other times it’s The Monkees, enjoying a Pleasant Valley Sunday, or Smokey Robinson and the Miracles Going to a go-go, or of course, The Beach Boys getting around, or Jan and Dean serenading their Little GTO (just googled that and found it’s not Jan & Dean but Ronnie & the Daytonas whom I never heard of – guess that shows it wasn’t one of my favorites!)
On this particular evening it was Diana Ross and The Supremes pleading Stop in the Name of Love. It had the opposite effect in me. I went – in search of a memory or two
And I found them.
My best friend in eighth grade, Gail Wilson’s father’s car a ’60 Buick (’59?)
My fifth grade teacher, Miss Brook’s ’56 Chevrolet (gray and white)
.The ’66 Dodge (1st car on the left) my Dad trusted me with to ferry my mother and brother back and forth to the beach all summer in Cape Cod while he stayed in NY to work. Obviously we weren’t a two car family – yet
My brother Jim’s ’73 Dodge when we had become a three car family. It’s the brown car right next to the McDonald’s entrance which is quite appropriate as Jim kept McDonald’s in business!
The ’70’s era Dodge Dart my father bought when we were a four car family and there was no danger of my brothers or I driving his car. Except he didn’t race it so the engine didn’t have all that “stuff”
As Archie & Edith Bunker used to sing, “Those were the Days.” Cars had their own distinctive look and you didn’t have to look for the name on the front to know what it was. Do you think that 40 years from now, today’s youth will be gathering to show off their Mazdas & Mitsubishis?
I won’t be around to find out, but you know what? I hope they will.
Last Friday night, I went with friends to a new wine bar that opened up in the neighborhood. As a very effective means of introduction, they are offering free live music every Friday in August. And you know me. Free? I’m there!
We didn’t know that we should make reservations but fortunately there was one table left –right in front of the stage. I was happy about this. My friends weren’t. They thought the big speaker towering over us might be too loud. I looked up at the stage. I had to admit it was one big honking speaker. But hey, I survived two Who concerts and came away with my hearing intact and who’s louder than The Who? Not even The Stones and after a couple of their concerts my voice took a while to recover from all the screaming but I could hear.
When the warm-up band came on, playing a mix of 60’s through 80’s songs, my friend dragged the table back and out of the speaker’s aim. I stayed put. What wimps this younger generation is,I thought. Well we’re all the same generation, all ,but as much as I hate to admit it, I have over ten years seniority on all three of them.
“I’m fine,” I bragged. “I’m used to this kind of loud music,” adding as a half-humorous afterthought – “or maybe I’ve already lost a lot of my hearing.”
It turned out my original thought was accurate. The second, and arguably, featured band started up, (a nineties grunge band with a tall statuesque but definitely grungy female lead singer), it was not what I was used to. My ears could take but two songs of the strident guitar strumming guitar and the undecipherable, screamed lyrics. I got up and stood to the side. We left soon after.
Nirvana fans, forgive me but there’s nothing like classic rock, especially the songs that paint a picture, and draw you right into the scene. You see it, feel it, smell it. Know what I mean. No? Sure you do.
Let’s play a game. I’ll tell the story, as I see it and you tell me the name of the song; my version of Name that Tune.
Song#1 (In fact the warm up band played this one)
A young man pines for a particular summer of his youth, spent on his back porch with his buddies, playing his first guitar, one that he bought for practically nothing. But soon the old gang broke up. Some moved away, others got married. No other summer before or after ever matched that one.
A young country boy, probably blond, impossibly good-looking and naïve, decides he’s tired of living with the older rich woman in her penthouse. Tells her he’s leaving the city to go back home to the farm where he grew up.
Another young man, this one, a talented musician in the city plays music at a working man’s border-line seedy bar, and succeeds in bringing some joy to the aging, lonely clientele who drink there every night
Too easy, you say? OK try this one.
Yet another young man (hey what is this with the young men) comes home with a girl he just met. She lives in what we, in America, call a studio apartment, in England, they call it a bed-sitter. He sits patiently talking all night, and when she hints she has to get up for work in the morning, he goes into the bathroom to sleep in her tub. When she leaves for work in the morning he wakes to find himself alone and so proceeds to….. This song has two interpretations, the G-rated one – light a fire, or the X-rated one (send the children out of the room) he masturbates,
A man (young?) just can’t bring himself to end a beach town vacation. He spends his time wandering around, watching the tourists, and then limps home to make his favorite cocktail. Where is he? Puerto Vallarta? San Diego? I personally picture St Thomas, Virgin Islands but then the rum punch doesn’t go with the song.
Okay! Time for the answers
Drum roll please…….
Summer of ’69, from the album………..
Song#4, Norwegian Wood
Now I’m off on a mission – to find “story” songs about young (or not so young) women. And when I find them, we’ll have another round of Name That Tune.