>Jim, "Rebel with an 8-Track Player"


White Mountains National Forest, New Hampshire...Image by The Library of Congress via Flickr

Way back when I was about 12 years old, or thereabouts, our family took a trip to New Hampshire with some good friends from Yorktown Heights, New York.  It was a great trip.  It truly was.  I’m sure I remember it better than it really was, but in my mind the skies were always clear, the kids never fought, and every day was awesome. 

This was the vacation that we hiked up a mountain and went swimming in a snow-fed stream which was so cold that the warm sunshine “burned” when we got out of the water.  It was in that stream that we found some beer that hikers had left to cool and thought that was the coolest thing ever–as if we’d have any idea about beer.

This was the vacation that my friend and I were infatuated by a girl from Massachusetts.  I don’t remember her name.  I don’t remember what was appealing about her except that I assume she was approximately our age.  But I do remember that we called her “Cah.”  That was because, being from New England, she once yelled out to her parents, “I’m gonna’ get in the cah;” dropping the “r” from the end of the word as New Englanders do.  That’s, frankly, the most personal contact we had. So, in my memories, she’s “Cah.”  That’s it.

However my most vivid memory is my red, 8-track boombox that was along for the trip.  I loved that 8-track player.  It’s funny now when I try to tell my kids–each with their own iPod–what it was like to play 8-tracks and have the songs fade out in the middle, click, and then fade back in again.  I’m so spoiled now with my 32 Gigabyte iPod.  But, with this trip, that red 8-track boombox was a companion while we played card games up in the “kids room.”  John Denver.  AC/DC.  Styx.  Kansas.  Dan Fogelberg.   (I know, it was an eclectic mix).

One of the days, maybe it was  little rainy now that I remember, with AC/DC on the boombox, a particularly crude song came on.  (I won’t name the song at this point. This is a family friendly blog, after all.)  My friend and I put that boombox up in the window of our New Hampshire condo for all the complex to hear.

Now, I don’t know if anyone heard it.  I don’t know if those who might have heard it cared at all.  But for one song, I felt like a rebel.

And if playing a loud, inappropriate rock song around people who never saw me before and haven’t seen me since is how I remember being a rebel back in my pre-teen years, I guess my parent did OK.

Now, there are other acts of rebellion in my past, but I’m sorry to say that most of them will seem just as insignificant in the grand scheme of things.  This is just one instance that I can still REMEMBER being rebellious.

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