Saturday, September 17, 2016

The 8-track of life

I will confess that I am of the age that remembers the 8-track player. Yes, those glory days of taking something it is larger than most cell-phones and inserting it into a slot on your car's dash, just to hear the dulcet tones of your favorite group, broken up by the "kuh-chunk" as it changed direction mid-song. Before the cassette, before the CD, way before the iPod or MP3 player - was the 8-track.

But for me, the 8-track has an additional significance, because it represents a happy part of my life. When I was a pre-teen (maybe what we'd call today a tweener), my family took vacations in our motorhome, and in that motorhome was an 8-track player. And my dad had a very limited selection of 8-track tapes that he'd switch out every-once-in-a-while. He had a Benny Goodman live concert tape, a Glenn Miller tape, a tape of classical guitar played by the incomparable Andres Segovia, and then selected piano tunes played by Roger Williams. 

To this day, when I think of the open highway before us as we drove through Wyoming, or when we crossed the Missouri River, or when we camped out in Death Valley, the music from those few tapes comes back to haunt me with the memories of those trips, and those miles of open road. Eventually, we sold the motorhome, and dad's newer cars went from 8-track to cassette. But those memories and those songs can still be heard.