Postcards from a Staycation

The Maybe Chronicles hits the road in its own living room.

It's spring break, nine days ad infinitum, and I have not a clue as to a vacation plan for our family. Our neighbors across the street are in Hawaii, zip-lining and volcano-hopping is my guess, while my 10-year-old son's closest friend is in Newport, most likely dining on a bowl of thick clam chowder with a side of restaurant-baked warm bread. And here I am, in the kitchen, drumming "In-A- Gadda-Da-Vida" on my son's back.

"What's that?" Ben asks. "What is that song?" 

"It's 'In Da Gadda Da Vida,'" I say, as my husband calls out from the dining room, "In a Gadda."

"It would be 'In Da Gadda Da Vida' if Danny DeVito said it," quips my son. "Who is Danny DeVito anyway?"

He looks at me in earnest. "How did you learn that song?"

How appropriate, I'm thinking, to begin our protracted vacation with a long-winded exposition on the lengthiest drum solo in what may be the most drawn-out rock song in history. 

I explain how in junior high I wound up in the portable classrooms, one of four trailers set up behind our high school, making seventh grade feel like some far-off lunar satellite. And within this cloistered pod, there was little room for "being popular" so I actually became friends with the gorgeous Diane N., with long blonde hair, who each day would chat with me while finger-drumming Iron Butterfly on her desk.  "And I guess I just remembered it." 

Ben and I check out the song on YouTube, circa 1968, and view Iron Butterfly in all their glory, a group I had frankly never seen before, and couldn't help but notice had obscenely thick locks of shiny hair. 

"They're beautiful," I say to Ben.

"You really remembered the drum solo," he says sweetly.

It's a few days later, and we're discussing the movie selection at Clearview Cinemas, when my husband reminds us he DVR'd To Sir, With Love. We begin watching the opening scene of this classic movie I haven't thought of in over 30 years, when Ben realizes it's not an action movie, and starts to complain. But within minutes he's transfixed, captivated by the talented Sidney Poitier as the straight-up, respected teacher in this lower-class London high school. The next morning we're all singing and humming the theme song as Ben goes to the computer and Googles Sidney Poitier.

"He was just in a car crash," he says, running in to the kitchen. "But he's OK. His Mercedes crashed into someone's Porsche. He's 82!" 

We all agree, we should look into some of his other movies, like In The Heat Of The Night but my husband points out we have yet to see Serpico DVR'd and ready to go. And just like that, it occurs to me, as with all our other vacations, this one has a feel of its own.


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