Monday, January 02, 2012


Yes we lost some great folks in 2011. Steve Jobs, Andy Rooney, Clarence Clemons, Liz Taylor, my two amazing aunts, Lucille and Betty; and let's not forget Dobie Gray.
What's that? You say you don't remember Dobie Gray? You mean the refrain, "give me the beat boys and free my soul, I wanna get lost in your rock 'n roll" means nothing to you?
Drift Away is the first pop song I remember listening to. I was six when it came out in 1973 (go ahead, do the math), and I heard it played on an eight-track tape player in my babysitter Valerie's car. Yep. It was the 70s - - and I had a babysitter named Valerie.
Sometimes Valerie would pick me up and drive me over to her house where she'd leave me with her mom and go off with her boyfriend. Their house had a grape arbor outside the back door. When I played inside I used to set up their Mousetrap game or watch the fish in their aquarium that I remember as always being cloudy. Valerie's mom was always in her nightgown in the middle of the day watching tv in the living room.
Sometimes Valerie would bring me along to do errands or stop off at her boyfriend's house - her boyfriend's parent's house of course. Her boyfriend had the Stoned Again poster in his room - the creepiest poster ever when you are six years old.
This is what I am reminded of whenever I catch a snippet of Drift Away on the radio and drift back to 1973 and wonder if my parents had any idea when they went out that I was being carted around town or left with a middle-aged woman who by all accounts appeared to be comatose. As a parent I'm proud to say I used a much more comprehensive vetting process for potential babysitters.
So thanks Dobie, "thanks for the joy that you've given me. I want you to know I believe in your song."
But that Stoned Again poster still creeps me out.

song: Valerie • artist: The Monkeys

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