Erin would always let me drive us to the ice cream stand.
It was a summer staple- Buttonwoods homemade ice cream. It is thick, it is fattening, it is delicious, and it comes in oh-so-many varieties.
Erin and I would set aside entire summer afternoons to drive a half hour away down Connecticut's backroads just to devour some filling variety in a waffle cone. And we would only listen to the Beatles' "Sergeant Pepper's." Those were the two highlights of that brief stint home away from school: ice cream and The Greatest Rock N' Roll Album Ever (According To Most).
"What would you think if I sang out a tune/ Would you stand up and walk out on me?"
Ledyard to Preston and back again, weekend after weekend. Ice cream became a fourth meal for me at least once a week.
"Lend me your ears, and I'll sing you a song..."
And Erin would always let me drive despite my poor performance with my brand new Hyundai that summer. I had a manual for the first time ever, and I sucked with it. I would have that sedan inching along like a tractor running on little diesel. It lurched and it stuttered. I often stalled out in the middle of intersections.
Does it really matter though when you have music?
"Picture yourself in a boat on a river with tangerine trees and marmalade skies...."
One day Erin asked to drive my standard home. We had four blocks to go before we were at her house. Sure, why not, Erin? Go right ahead. You're a responsible person. By all means, take the wheel.
There were four blocks to go. They were many twists and turns, but there is always the subliminal joy of The Beatles' greatest album to calm all who pay attention to the Fab Four's simple message of love.
And then the car started to lurch. The car inched forward. The car came to a startling halt. The car accelerated again. The car lurched to a halt. And so on for four blocks.
"Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band/ We hope you have enjoyed the show..."
Lurching, halting. Starting, stopping. It was like riding an ornery thoroughbred, and yes, I do know what that feels like.
"I'm fixin' a hole where the rain gets in/ It stops my mind from wanderin' where it will go..."
We made it up Erin's sloping driveway, and I realized I had just experienced what every other passenger in my car had to deal with on occassion.
Public Service Announcement: Always wait one half hour after eating dessert before you jump into a 2004 Hyundai Elantra with Dan and Erin.