I heard a Steely Dan song come on the radio earlier today, and it got me thinking. You know the one I’m thinking of, even if you don’t know you know it. You should be able to sing along, even just reading the lyrics to the chorus. Ready? Here we go…
“Are you wheeling in the yeeeast? Stowin’ away the Tiiiiide? Are you gathering up the cheeeese?Have you had enough in miiiind?” -One of the best songs about shopping ever, right?
Okay, those aren’t the right lyrics, but that does sound like what they are singing.
The real lyrics are as follows: “Are you reelin’ in the years? Stowin’ away the time? Are you gatherin’ up the tears? Have you had enough of mine?”
As I listened to this chorus today I was pretty much bound to answer “Yes. Yes, Mr. Dan. I am”. I know there’s nobody named Dan in the group, but I just thought it was funny.
Surprisingly, this is not a post about Steely Dan. It’s about how I’ve been feeling lately, which is why I answered in the affirmative to that song. Lately I have been feeling all kinds of sentimental and nostalgic.
Recently we have lost two members of my family. I mentioned cousin Amy before, but this past week we lost my Aunt Sarah. Well, great Aunt technically, I think, but I always called her Aunt. Anyway, Sarah was a special lady. She was an English teacher for years in Arkansas. We used to talk about different books we were reading and authors we liked. She was always one to strike up a conversation with pretty much anyone and be extremely interested in what was going on in your life, and how you felt about whatever topic was being discussed at the time. I think she just liked to see what made people tick. Sarah was a very intelligent woman, also very kind and loving. I remember my wife meeting her for the first time and commenting on how Sarah made her feel like family right away. She and Uncle Eddie were also quite fond of the kids as well.
Needless to say, it very much saddened me to hear she had passed on. It all happened fairly quickly, with her graveside service following only a few days after she died. I didn’t go to the service, and I feel kind of guilty about it. I have gone to many other family funerals (and weddings too, which are the preferable alternative), but I couldn’t make this one. I wish I had, though.
One of the down sides to being part of a large family is that sooner or later, everyone begins to spread out. While I am thankful for the family I have here in town, most of my cousins live far enough away that I don’t really get to see them except for weddings and funerals these days. I try to keep up on social media, but it’s not the same. I’d to see my family and hug my cousins again.
So that’s where my mind has been. I just keep thinking about people and stories and remembering as much as I can, while getting that bittersweet feeling that you only get when thinking about the people and places you miss.
It’s not just family I have been feeling nostalgic about lately, though. I’ve been thinking about my teenage years, and friends I haven’t seen for ages. There are many stories I could tell, and some I never will. I hope to try and reconnect with some of my old friends. Once again, I try to keep up with social media, but it’s not the same.
That’s Middle Age talking. I don’t have what people call the “Middle Age Crazies”, I have the “Middle Age Melancholia”, which is probably better. I sometimes sit and watch compilations of old commercials on YouTube from back in those days, usually before bed. It calms me, and makes me happy, especially when I see a commercial I had completely forgotten about. It’s always fun to see a blast from the past.
Speaking of, last night I found a few videos about the old Jamestown Mall, which had a lot of relevance in my life. Apart from all the time spent in the mall with my mother as a child and my friends as a teen, it was also where I got my first job as a mall janitor. I used to go in about five hours before the mall opened. As a result. I got to see all the ins and outs of the corridors behind the scenes where most people never went. It was a good weekend job for a teenager, with more hours in Summer of course. I started amazingly early but was always done by nine or ten, got a nap in when I went home, and the rest of the day was mine.
Jamestown has been closed for several years now, and they are finally tearing it down. It needs to be done, certainly, but I can’t help but feel a little sad to see a big part of my past go.
That’s how it is though. Places and people both come and go. Our memories live on, as do the feelings attached. While we certainly live in the present and look to the future, I think it’s important that we keep the past alive, at least to a certain extent. As much as I may long for the places and, yes, the products of the past, it is the people I hold most dear. Which is as it should be.
I started out with a Steely Dan song in my head, and now this seems to have turned into a situation where “In My Life” by The Beatles would be a better soundtrack. I’m not typing out the words to that one.
This is the part where I’m supposed to wrap this all up with some sort of grand statement or big idea. Don’t have one. Sorry. Sometimes you get a post that is well thought out and fun. Sometimes you get a rambling journal entry. What will you get next week?
I have no idea. Come back then, and let’s find out together.