Saturday nights were made for something. For each of us. But we often get lost in what they used to be for. When we were young, toddlers even, they were nights that our parents were in a better mood, happier and they fed us things that we didn’t normally get to eat. Pizza or spaghetti, even Chinese food. In the Midwest of my youth, it depended partially on the weather, partially on my parents’ mood.
When we were teenagers, it was the night to go out, escape and get away. It was the night to be ourselves and let our lives be real expressions of who we were. Our music, our friends, our night. When I was 13, I remember asking the first girl I ever asked, Nancy Rowe, to go steady-whatever that meant. Neither of us knew-but that was OK. We had no expectations, it was a chance to try out emotions and feelings, a chance to see what honesty meant. We tested those bounds, not physical ones.
In our 20’s, we struck out with the vision of what it meant to be individual. We drank, we smoked, we talked and we gathered. We had morals, we had manners, most of us, and it wasn’t a time to break the rules, but rather to ask how those rules applied to us. In my mid 20’s, I was in a band and Saturday night was either the longest practice of the week or, if we were lucky, a gig. We had gigs quite a bit as time went on–private parties, a few local clubs and establishments. The three of us, Edd, the guitarist, Chris, the drummer and I on bass played many a Saturday night. Two years in a row, we played a series of Halloween shows at a private party here in Camarillo, Calif. The hosts of that party were engaged and wonderful people–Andy, who had a great sense of humor and was fiercely loyal to Lisa (that’s what I’ll call her), was killed at his bachelor party. It was until that time the saddest event of my life.
Andy and his friends had gone to ride motorcycles in the desert. Andy went out just before dinner, apparently, to ride the trails for a quick go-round. He never came back, though no one thought too much about it until early the next morning. When the found him, Andy was lying on the ground, his bike off in the distance. He had apparently been thrown off and broke his neck. I remember telling Edd and Chris. It affected us all.
In later years, when I was no longer playing music, October Saturday nights were comfy, warm and at home with my wife and then, my daughter. As Shannon grew and Halloween became more fun, I re-connected with some of those friends from my teen years in the San Fernando Valley. Greg, Eric and I, Doug, Jeff and Kim, all of us were friends and it turned out that Greg had been keep close with all of them. At his company each year, Greg throws a Halloween party with all of the families and friends. He runs a graphic design, website and arts facility in the San Fernando Valley. He’s done well for himself. Shannon and I and sometimes Sue have been going since Shannon was 8 years old.
Tonight will mark our fifth Halloween party with old friends-the Barnetts and Schuhs, the Gerbers and the Ayers’. We’ll all get together and catch up, share some laughs as the kids, now in their tweens, run around and kick off the fall season of Halloween and Thanksgiving.
It’s a blessing to be able to once again celebrate the change of seasons. And we’re about to head out–Shannon in her rainbow 70’s Diva costume and me as an E.R. doctor. How time flies.