Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Journal Day: A song, and a story to go with it

Walken by Wilco on Grooveshark

When I look back at the last decade or so of my life, 2006 stands out as one of my favorites.  I think I will always remember it fondly; the summer, in particular, was incredibly memorable.  I graduated from high school, was heading off to college in a few months, and worked part time as a shift manager at the movie theater while going on adventures all over Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin.  I met the boy who, almost eight years later, is now my husband.  I was eighteen years old and the possibilities were endless.  Thinking about that time of my life makes me feel nostalgic and full of unbridled potential.  Freedom in its purest form.

That July, my friends and I made plans to drive up to Summerfest to see Wilco.  They were playing on the Miller Lite stage, with Andrew Bird opening, and it seemed like an experience too good to pass up.  We got there early, of course, and got ourselves a spot up front, right at the metal gates.  Perfect.

It was a hot and humid and sunny afternoon and we enjoyed listening to the tunes of Andrew Bird and people watching (a Summerfest tradition, it seems).  The day wore on into early evening and it wasn't long before our group expanded--we were joined by T. and a few of his friends, just in time for Wilco.  At the time, he and I had been dating for just barely a month, and everything was absolutely fantastic--I was still getting to know him, but I was already totally crazy about him and from what I could tell, he felt the same.  I couldn't remember having more fun and I soaked in every single moment of those few months.

The sun set and the sky grew darker, a hazy deep navy blue, and we buzzed and vibrated with excitement and anticipation for Wilco.  I could hardly believe I was there, seeing one of my all-time favorite bands, with the boy I was falling in love with and some of my close friends.  It felt like a dream and when they came on stage, and the music started, I fell into a delighted sort of disbelief and wonder.

It was a great show.  I sang along, the melodies familiar and true, soaking in the atmosphere and the feeling of his arms around my waist, leaning back against him with my head on his shoulder.  One song in particular stands out in my mind, and to this day, it's one of my very favorites and always reminds me of that summer: "Walken."

The more I think about it
The more I know it's true
The more I think about it
The more I'm sure it's you
Honey, I think you're just right
You're just right

It's a song about falling in love, about being infatuated to the point of preoccupation and utterly content with it.  (I was in that same boat and I couldn't help it; I thought about him often and liked him more every single time.  Still do.)  It takes me back to that hot July night, to being young and free, to brand new love, fresh as the fallen snow.  A love that has only grown and multiplied in the years that have passed since then, that continues to flourish and strengthen.  I still adore this tune and always smile when I hear it, reminded of the eighteen year old girl who swayed back and forth in her boyfriend's arms as she sang along to the words she knew so well.

We stayed until the encore ended and made our way slowly back to the parking lot shuttle bus, elated and happy.  We parted ways with the other half of our group and I drove the girls home, accidentally getting us a little lost on the way home in a quest for a late night snack.  Nevertheless, we made it back in one piece and I stayed up late, playing a mix of the songs I'd heard only hours previously and feeling so excited, so contented.  It is one of my favorite recollections, and certainly something I will never forget.

(Thanks again to Sometimes Sweet.)


  1. Aw, I love remembering the first beginnings of new love. What an enduring sensation. :) Thanks for sharing your experience, I so enjoy your words!