Thursday, September 27, 2007

A Stardust Memory

This morning I had the iPod set to random play and Nat King Cole's version of "Stardust" came on. I love this song and it made me wonder for a moment, why?

It came to me that it was one of those random childhood memories. Not an actual event, but one of those fossilized moments, like and insect preserved in amber. Our family sitting in a booth in a little restaurant on the lake where I grew up. We had gone out for a drive, back when going for a drive constituted entertainment and we stopped on the way home. If I cannot recall any motivation or purpose for the drive, I can remember the moment.

We had a window seat and the restaurant was situated so that the back of the place faced out over the lake, in fact the dining room was built on pilings so that it really did overhang the lake. We were seated on banquets of red vinyl with a gray formica table and on the table was mounted an old fashioned jukebox carousel that let you flip through song selections and drop your coins in at the table to play your song. Chrome and vinyl and formica. The big window looking out over the lake and the sunset, oranges, pinks, reds, purples and every shade of blue the sky could offer hanging above and reflected in the water. My mother flipping through the metal pages hinged like an upright book on the table as she and the old man waited for their beers and our sodas to arrive.

"Oh! Nat King Cole. I love this song.", and after a quick rummage for a coin, and into the slot, "Stardust" played to a heartachingly beautiful sunset over a lake in New England. The pines black around the shore and on the island, the sky and the water, fiery jewel colors. For a few minutes there was nothing in the world but this melancholy song, and nature putting on a show of color that would only happen once ever in this world. Perhaps, why I remember this is because for that brief window in time we all seemed to be happy. No, not happy, content. No conflicts, no arguments and recriminations, just peace and the splendor of the scene and the wistful and beautiful voice of Nat King Cole.

Like I said, no real memory, just a perfect moment, trapped in the amber of memory.