I have always been able to remember minute details. Not necessarily a photographic memory, but an ability to recall small seemingly unimportant things, particularly about interactions with people. Smells, sounds, specifics, things that my brain refuses to let go of over time. And while I can’t often remember what I had for dinner two days ago, I can tell you what I was wearing on my birthday in 1986.
When I was 14 years old, I was in the car with my dad. We were in our 1977 powder blue Carprice Classic waiting at a red light on 114th and Pacific Street and he was wearing jeans, a Green Bay Packers hat and an old flannel shirt. The song “Shameless” by Garth Brooks came on the radio. He cranked up the volume and started belting out the lyrics pounding his hands on the steering wheel and singing out of tune. I’d never head the song before.
I sat in silence, he was oblivious to me anyway… and when he’d finished his impromptu performance, he looked over to see me staring, mouth hanging open in surprise at his sudden outburst. I shook my head at him in disbelief, but in spite of myself I may have even smiled a little.
His love of Meatloaf, Journey, Boston, George Straight, and Johnny Cash definitely had an impact on my musical tastes and when I asked him about the song he’d just sung he said, “Now THAT’S a love song. That’s what it’s all about.”
At the time, my 14 year-old-girl self just rolled my eyes. The song, that moment, his words, however left an impact. The song quickly became one of my favorites, still is… and sixteen years later that moment in the car is one that will never leave me. And when asked randomly tonight what my favorite song was, it was an easy answer. I was taken back, immediately, to that moment at the stop light with my father. And as I thought about it, the lyrics escaped my lips as I sat in my own car, my two daughters sitting in the back seat. I found it on my iPod, cranked it up and belted it out.
I may have even smiled a little.