It’s so funny how the most benign things can bring back some of the best memories.
As I was driving home tonight I switched CD’s (yes my car only has a CD player because it is old, and yes I still have CD’s because I am old) and put on one of the discs from the amazing Stadium Arcadium album by The Red Hot Chili Peppers. As I started to listen to the music I was instantly reminded of a great memory from high school.
I had a good friend named Greg that had an old white hatchback Ford with a sound system that was likely worth more than the car itself. Greg and our other friend Sam, who now has his doctorate in music, always had impeccable taste in music and opened my eyes to some of the great artists of all different times like Prince, David Bowie, and The Red Hot Chili Peppers.
One of our favorite things to do on weekend nights, in particular during the winter, was to drive around with amazing music screaming through the speakers, windows down, letting in the bitter cold Utah winter air, and the heater cranked up so we wouldn’t all freeze to death. It was nothing ground breaking, or something that I thought would be particularly memorable at the time, but as I look back now I realize that it is those moments of simple joy that bring me the most happiness and inevitably put a smile on my face.
I know this often took place without me, or with our other friends Jon, Borsos, Naysahn, Mike, Thayne, Jamison, Mark, Jason, or the occasional female like Mary Jane, Liz, Erika, or Tricia, but it honestly didn’t matter who it was. All that mattered was that a few teenagers were together making a memory that still puts a smile on my face even 15+ years later.
The older I get the more I realize how important memories like this are for one simple reason, they are about people. I don’t regularly talk with any of the aforementioned people, and some of them I haven’t seen since we graduated high school, but that doesn’t matter either. What matters is that these people were an integral part of my life during one of the most important times in any person’s life. They helped me make good choices, and the occasional bad one, but I will forever be indebted to them for helping me become the man that I am today.
I did have the opportunity to see some of these friends a few years ago and it was so fun to see how all of our lives have developed over time and how quickly we just caught right up. Even our children became immediate friends and had a great time running around my Grandparent’s old yard making their own memories.
So, as The Red Hot Chili Peppers serenaded me on my way home, I couldn’t help but turn up the heat, roll down the windows letting the cold air in, crank up the radio, and think back on some beautifully simple memories from my past.