20 April 2010

tunes-day. (aretha meets the band}

It's the year 2000. Cans of cheap beer, a coffee grinder, and resin filled bottles and bowls litter the floor. Ten of us are crammed into a tiny attic bedroom adorned with Grateful Dead posters, high school football trophies and Tibetan prayer flags. The boys in basketball shorts, baggy jeans, or worn out corduroys. The girls in sundresses or torn jeans and hoodies, with the prerequisite summer flip-flops dangling from their toes. 

The sticky summer air breezes through one open window in an attempt to push some of the sickly sweet sweat and smoke out another. One boy, his hair long, curly and sun-streaked grabs a guitar slumped lazily against a wall. Another, his legs long and pale in spite of the east coast sun we've been lounging in all day, grabs a set of bongos and sits cross legged at his best friend's side. 

The first notes are strummed, and as each person exhales and turns, this group of seemingly mismatched teenagers comes together for their nightly ritual. The curly haired boy sings out; a girl weaves a harmony through the verse; and as we reach the chorus, the choir of friends emerges from the wings and builds that famous chord note by note. The timing and tuning were far from perfect, but the love and friendship radiating from each voice kept us singing that same song night after night, year after year.

To this day I cannot hear "The Weight" without an overwhelming sense of nostalgia and pure love for the people I first shared it with.  The hazy days of our youthful summers may have passed, but, happily, this grown up version of the song was brought to my attention today.  After ten years, this may just be my summer anthem once again.

{Aretha Franklin: "The Weight"}

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