Friday, April 17, 2015

Musical Memories - ReO Speedwagon


My theme is Musical Memories:  The Memories that music brings rushing back.


Yeah, I stretched this one a ways to get it.  REO Speedwagon.  And I centered on the O.  The first time I ever heard REO Speedwagon was at a carnival on the SFA campus.  Not sure what the event was all about.  I was out there selling helium balloons for my sorority,  Gamma Sigma Sigma.  I ran across a young man operating a ride who asked me to tie a couple of balloons up to his gate.  He said the balloons would help business.  

I consented and off and on throughout the day we visited. He had an REO Speedwagon cassette blaring over the speakers connected to his ride.


He asked me to promise to come back at the end of the evening.  I did.  And there began my brief dating history with a carny. 

I found that after hours, everything you paid for all day was free and for the taking for carnies and their friends.  Why waste it?  We relaxed and chilled over beers and everyone swapped tales from the day.  When the carnival cranked up the next day, I found I had a free pass to every ride!  And each and every operator would run it to the max if I was on board.  Being a ride groupie at that age, it was an exhilarating thrill!!

The boy, got my number and swore anytime he was any where close to me, he'd call.  And true to his word, he did. I began meeting the show anywhere they set up.  It was amazing to watch them set up!!  The hydraulics that lifted the heavy arms of metal from an 18-wheeler to standing tall in the Texas sun.  The simple cotter pins that held the swinging metal seats on the rides!  Everyone alert and sober for set up.  No one wanting anything but a high good time for the show.  

Ah, but once the show started, there'd be impromptu breaks beneath the massive rides where they'd chill and relax.  Drink a beer.  Pass a joint around.  Then break was over and it was back to business.  

When you are a carny or you date a carny, it's just a totally different experience than the average carnival goer experiences.  Everything is free.  Everyone wants you engaged in their ride or their game.  Everyone wants to feed you. It's like a big traveling family!

Once, he asked me to meet him in Galveston for a gig. That I did.  But as I arrived, hurricane warnings shut the show down.  So, we booked a hotel and as the hurricane blew in, we cruised the streets of Galveston in my 1979 Mustang Cobra with his best friend and his girl.  And the tune that rode us through the storm was Hurricane by Leon Everette.

The local radio station played it over, and over and over.  It was the only song of the evening!!  It was a blast and an event I will never forget.

A few months afterward, an incident happened while I was visiting the show that I just couldn't get past.  He hadn't stood up for me the way I was taught and raised a man should.  So, without malice, I let our relationship die and wane away. But I'll always remember my summer as a Carny's girl. 
   
Have you ever dated anyone from a vastly different lifestyle?
If this was me dating on the wild side, what was the wildest dating relationship you ever had?
Have you ever dated anyone where the relationship came with special perks?



13 comments:

  1. I never heard of REO Speedwagon. Man, I wish I was a ride groupie. :P

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    1. If you listen to any early 80's rock, you are bound to have heard one or two of their songs. The album above was the biggest selling rock album of 1981. "Keep on Loving You." "Take it on the Run". In all 5 number one songs on the album. And I had a ball being a ride groupie!

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    2. I miss spoke. Five songs from the album inside the top twenty on Billboards charts.

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  2. LOL! What an adventurous summer! I was too much a shy, retiring flower of a youngster for such adventures. Now, though . . .it would be a different story.

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    1. I seldom initiated conversation with strangers, but if one tried to start one with me, and I got a good vibe from them, I'd plunge ahead. Now, I'd tell my daughter she was crazier than a betsy bug if she did that.

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  3. My dating experience has been very boring. You story makes me regret that a little ;) I love rides and being on the other side of it would be fun to explore.

    You can find me here:
    ClarabelleRant

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    Replies
    1. Oh, I don't know. You date all types and end up marrying the guy down the road. ;) I had a wide range of experiences, but I suppose it came down to finding someone basically like minded. P.S. - I talk about the two of us tomorrow!
      Visit me at: Life & Faith in Caneyhead
      I am Ensign B of Tremps' Troops
      with the A to Z Challenge

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  4. Oh my, Barbara, you are a wild child! My wildness is represented by one date, and I do mean one date, with someone who was not a Christian! Needless to say I enjoyed your story!

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    1. Yep, I supposed I tiptoed all around the fringe edges of the wild side in my late teens and early twenties. On the plus side, I've never wondered what was out there, like lots of women do when they get into their thirties.

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  5. What a fascinating story. Have you read Joyland by Stephen King? Your tale reminded me of that poignant coming of age story. I recommend the book; it's sure to bring back memories.

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    Replies
    1. I looked it up. Maybe my time with the carnies wasn't as creepy as a Stephen King novel?!?!

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  6. Having an association with a carnival when you're a kid is a kids dream. That was my experience. I know something about what you're talking about.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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    Replies
    1. Oh, I am sure! I'd have felt like a queen at 8 or 10 to have that kind of access to the carnys and the rides and games!

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So glad you stopped by! Come 'round any time. ~ Barbara

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