On the last night that I was in Cheyenne, my Mom and my aunt Kristi shared stories from a trip my family made in the summer of 1983.
Of me getting bored and wandering off at the Cheyenne Mall; they though I was lost, but I was waiting out at the car - ready to go.
Of me wandering off from my uncle's school because I was bored; I walked to the apartment of another family member so I could hang out with a cousin.
I was four years old. Actually, I had just turned four. I was an adventurous child.
That was also the summer that Return of the Jedi was released. I remember going to see it in the theater those many years ago. It is such a clear memory as my family didn't ever go to the movies; the only reason we went to this one is because we were on vacation. I remember falling asleep before the assault against the Death Star - the big explosion woke me up in time to see the Ewoks throw what became my standard for a good party. What I don't remember about that visit to the movie theater is that I watched it while sitting on Aunt Kristi's lap.
Kristi did not recall my brief nap as the film reached it's climatic scene. No. She remembered me pulling my foot close to my chest and playing with my shoelaces - pointing their tips to the big screen, making those "pew pew" sounds to imitate the sound of Jedi blasters.
It was good fun looking back. Considering the sadness of our circumstances, we needed the moment to laugh at ourselves.
That round of stories made me nostalgic in a million different ways. But the stories we told were not the only things bringing back memories of yesteryear.
Classic rock radio was the predominant musical choice on the drive from Cd'A to Cheyenne and back. It was also the clearest station on the dial through most of Wyoming. Between the classics and a small dose from my brother's satellite radio, I got a healthy shot of nostalgia with a chaser of music therapy. The following five songs brought up memories of better days at some point in the trip - either on the way there, during my stay, or on the way back.
Squeeze - Tempted: "I said to my reflection 'Let's get out of this place'" ... yes, that. One of my all time favorite lines in the history of pop music.
Coolio - Gangsta's Paradise: While driving across town, this song came up on my brother's radio. Surprisingly, my dad didn't even flinch. Had I played this song back in high school, he would have bristled and I would have received a lecture. Added proof that my father has mellowed: Aaron asked me, "Can you imagine dad cruising down main street with this cranked up?" And we listened to the whole song.
Whitesnake - Here I go again: If this song comes on the radio and you don't sing along, shame on you.
Goo Goo Dolls - Name: This is quite possibly one of the best songs of the 90's. The quintessential melancholic anthem. I will never get tired of hearing those lines, "I think about you all the time, and I don't need the same. It's lonely where you are, come back down. I won't tell them your name."
Tom Petty - Free Fallin': Somewhere north of Sheridan on the way home, this came on and it's at that point that I first felt ready to be home. At peace with the loss of my Grandma. Refreshed from a week with my folks. Also, this song should be on everyone's road trip playlist.
I won't divulge the fond memories dredged up by these tunes, but it was therapeutic for me. Did these songs bring back any memories for you?