Friday, February 6, 2015

Huey Lewis and Whistle Pops

It’s raining buckets here in Portland. We lucked out with several unseasonably warm and dry weeks in January and now, as the weather gods are wont to do, we are being made to pay for it with that particular kinds of bone chilling rain that seems to define winter in the Northwest. And so, of course, I’ve been dreaming of summer.

It’s the rain’s fault, really. Although not in the way you might think. You see, normally, I ride my bike as much as possible. To work, to school, to the store. But after getting a thorough soaking yesterday on my way from work to the bus stop to pick up one of the kids, I decided all further transportation this rainy week would take place in the car. And in the middle of driving through this morning's onslaught, Huey Lewis and the News came tumbling out of the radio speakers and despite having to squint out the window to see, even with the wipers going full blast, it was summer.

A summer evening, to be exact.

I don’t have a lot of memories that are linked so firmly to music. Probably because I am the world's worst music identifier. The standing joke in our house is that any time I’m asked “Who sings this?” I answer “Hall and Oats.” Because, hey, it might be Hall and Oats. And if it’s not (well, even if it is) I don’t know.  But Huey, Huey Lewis I know.

I would have been about eight or nine, right about the age Evelyn is now. Old enough to come out on the boat with dad while mom stayed home with a toddling Garrett. Old enough to sit on the deck of our cabin cruiser, my skin prickling with that too much sunshine feeling that my children will probably never feel since now-a-days, parents have to be sunscreen Nazis (with good reason), and watch the wake from our boat turn from foamy waves into soft ripples as they splay out behind us on our way across the lake.

There are all sorts of associated memories that pop up in my mind when I remember those evenings. The sugar sweet strawberries and cream taste of a Whistle Pop suckers from the marina gas station. The thrill of fishing the cherry out of the Shirley Temple I would get if we made it across the lake to that bar, the one with what seemed like a zillion steps leading from the dock to the dining room. The smell of the water after a hot day, not fishy or stinky, but planty, and green. A great blue heron standing in the tall grasses along the shore, watching us, watching him. The scratchy feeling of an old beach towel, the game of watching for the "Sea Pig" to cross our path. All tied up with Huey Lewis crooning in the background.

I can’t remember what the boat looked like. I don’t recall what was inside the cabin or what color the hull was. But I remember how much I loved being there. Adding layers over my swimsuit as the sun set and the wind picked up on the water. Seeing the lights of town twinkling in the distance on our way home, starting out like a shimmery mirage and then growing larger and brighter and more familiar the closer we got. I remember Huey Lewis singing “Happy to be stuck with you” on the beat-up black radio and thinking, “Yep, me too.”



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