Don McLean, “American Pie”


They were singing,
“bye-bye, miss american pie.”
Drove my chevy to the levee,
But the levee was dry.
Them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey and rye
Singin’, “this’ll be the day that I die.”

One of my fondest memories from the Summer that I was on staff at Camp Wah-Tut-Ca is of my first Staff Night Out.  I realize that it’s a bit strange to say that one of my favorite memories of camp is of leaving camp, but bear with me.  On Wednesday nights, after the areas had closed for the evening, most of the staff would head out of camp for a bit of real-world recreation.  As I recall, this was one of my very first occasions to head off into the world with friends – without supervision, direction, concern for the content of chicken nuggets, or hesitation about turning the stereo way up.  I remember the feel of the wind, and the bright lights of the Newbury Comics we had come to plunder.  Mostly, though, I remember the exhilarating sensation of freedom that came from being able to go anywhere we pleased. (1)  And then there’s “American Pie…”

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  1. Note: New Hampshire has never been this exciting since. For anyone, I bet. [Back]

Bob Dylan, “Desolation Row”

And Ezra Pound and T. S. Eliot
Fighting in the captain’s tower
While calypso singers laugh at them
And fishermen hold flowers

Like most people, when asked, my father’s favorite Dylan record was Highway 61 Revisited.  It was, for him, a landmark.  While he definitely liked certain tracks from earlier records more, this was the album that he felt most comfortable listening to from start to finish.  My father was definitely much more of an album over singles person than most people that I know, and so it was the album that I spent so much time listening to when my father chose to play Dylan.  I can remember sitting on the floor, next to the speakers, wondering what on Earth might be going on in all of that “noise.” This song took years to make any sense to me at all – and now, well, it’s strangely the shortest eleven-minute song I know.  I never feel that it takes very long to run its course, and I’m always a little sad when I’ve finished shaking hands with all of these characters. Continue reading

Fountains of Wayne, “Hackensack”


120px-fow-welcome_interstate_managers.jpg I used to know you when we were young
You were in all my dreams
We sat together in period one
Fridays at 8:15…




I spend a lot of time waiting. It’s probably the thing I do the most. I wait for inspiration to strike. I wait for people to write. I wait for days to pass along, so I can go back to where I belong. The refrain of this song “But I will wait for you / As long as I need to / And if you ever get back to Hackensack / I’ll be here for you” is fixated on the removal of that unforgettable someone. When you spend as much time waiting as I do, you can’t help but wonder just where everyone has gone to. All those people that, once upon a time, kept your days and nights full and longing-free. It’s hard, and confusing, to lose touch with so many that I love and care for. And worst of all – it makes you boring. Even to yourself. Continue reading