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  Tuesday January 27th, 2015    

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How strange is that? (03/21/2010)
By Janet Lewis Burns
“Progress might have been all right once, but it’s gone on way too long.” Ogden Nash has been credited for that witty little tidbit and I think it’s quite smashing! They say that writers are a rare breed – moody, eccentric, and a little daft. I will not credit myself as being a writer, though I do share some of the idiosyncrasies.

By this time of year, I become downright slaphappy. I’m beyond ready for this winter gig to vamoose! Nothing I put down on paper sounds right. (Sometimes you feel like a nut – sometimes you don’t!) I’m in a cabin fever, macaroni and cheese, reruns of COPS, jammies all day long, ignorance is bliss slump.

Switching gears, maybe something worthwhile will cross my mind, frozen as it is with fragmentary thoughts of youthful springs, Spam sandwiches and Kool-Aid, and climbing to my perch at the top of my family’s front yard tree. I’m stalled in a snow bank on a dead-end street without my dictionary, no computer hookup, and a broken pencil.

I’ve just read the same paragraph of Wm. Paul Young’s “The Shack” five times, as Bob Dylan’s CD “Time Out Of Mind” keeps unreeling and replaying. (To my foggy knowledge there’s no known collaboration between the two.)

Strange things have been going on for centuries! “Strange” is not strange anymore. Simple, harmonious, Mayberry flashbacks flood my mind, as I skip down memory lane, along whitewashed fences and hustling and bustling streets of the ‘50s, when clean-cut soda jerks served up 7-Up floats with two straws at the dime store’s lunch counter.

On Main Street, cool guys with long sideburns, wearing leather jackets, squealed around corners with their shiny, souped-up hotrods, laying rubber, their mud flaps waving at love-struck teenie-boppers through exhaust fumes and musical trails blasting “Teen Angel,” Leader of the Pack,” “Sixteen Candles,” “Mac the Knife,” “ Jailhouse Rock.” “Wake Up Little Susie!” “Splish splash I was takin’ a bath, long about Saturday night...”

How strange was that! You know what? It was wonderful! It was unabashed freedom! It was the epitome of love at first gawk, rock ‘n roll fever, dancing on gravel, country roads at midnight, sleeping all day Saturday, Frankie Avalon and Sandra Dee, the Saturday night Hit Parade on a fuzzy TV, talking pig Latin - a second language, and the unforgettable school bus rides home from away games, when couples’ stolen kisses silhouetted teen ardor through the darkness.

Young people today tend to be way too serious way too young. It’s all about making big money and having all they want right now whether they can afford it or not. It’s about maxing out credit cards (his and hers) and buying all kinds of stuff and sitting around admiring your stuff and playing with mom and dad toys with remote controls that make funny state-of-the-art sounds and it’s the reason dad missed his third wife’s son’s hockey game, and caused a malfunction in the part of the brain that controls sensitive conversation.

Back in the days of Leave It To Beaver, Ozzie and Harriet, and Lassie, “my dad can beat up your dad” was big stuff! Someone would retort, “Your mother wears combat boots!” I never understood that one! By the time I began dating, I finally figured out that there were no submarine races down by Lake Winona after dark!

The human mind is a fickle organ. Sometimes it stalls or takes a hike. Thought processes can break down without warning. A bit of spring cleaning may do the trick.

As I step outside for a breath of winter-cleansed air, it all becomes clear... inspiration comes at its own freewill. A person just has to be there to catch the vibes.

How strange is that?

Janet Burns lives in Lewiston. She can be reached at patandjanburns@embarqmail.com.



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