When I was 16, I spent hundreds of my hard-earned pennies on a CD. Not a ‘Greatest Hits’ or ‘Top Ten Songs of 1967’ compilation, as was my custom, but something completely unfamiliar.
Of all Barnes and Noble’s CDs, I chose Song Cycle by Van Dyke Parks— partly because song cycles trip my trigger, and partly because Van Dyke Parks looked so much like “Aardvark”… who had recently dumped me.
Additionally, I was impressed by the naming of tracks 6 and 7:
6. “Van Dyke Parks” – Public Domain
7. “Public Domain” – Van Dyke Parks
At 16, this struck me as the height of wit.
Song Cycle begins with the Randy Newman song Vine Street:
I can’t TELL you how I loathed the first 50 seconds of Vine Street. I’d paid full price for questionable bluegrass? What if all 12 tracks were about about blackjack?!
Before I could die of remorse, the bluegrass faded and Van Dyke Parks sang:
“That’s a tape that we made
but I’m sad to say it never made the grade.
That was me; third guitar
I wonder where the others are.”
My worries ended.
Like the singer remembering Vine Street , “I sold the guitar today. I never did play much, anyway.”
My Celebrity and its hard case only fetched $70. It felt like selling a friend, but we can’t always afford to be sentimental.
All week long, I’ve been selling my furniture. Packing. Scrubbing, then scrubbing again.
Mr. Jaunty and I moved out of our apartment today, our first home together. Next Saturday, we begin driving from New Mexico to Pennsylvania. Our combined estates won’t possibly fit in Mr. Jaunty’s pickup truck, so we’re having a yard sale tomorrow morning.
Yes, I’m excited about the future and yes, I’m grateful that Mr. Jaunty’s father is taking us in. But I’ve spent six years in New Mexico and it’s hard leaving so much behind.
Again, I am taking a risk by choosing something completely unfamiliar. This time, I’m gambling more than pennies.
My only guitar is gone, my body aches, and I’m sad all the way to my bones.