MEMORIES OF THE STARBOARD

A while back when I was asked to join what would become our now two and a half year-old “little cover band that could” called Second Wind, I weighed the reasons for taking this huge leap, one I had never taken before. Sure I had sung some Mellencamp and U2’s ’40’ at a big party I had in 1988, and ‘Can’t You See’ at my 30th birthday surprise party in 1991, but those were very brief forays, marginally well done and probably only because I was fueled by hops, barley and water clear.  But what business did I have joining a REAL band, especially at the soon-to-be-age of 45? Well, one reason is because I wanted to try it. If I failed, I could say I tried. But the other reason, one which has become more and more evident and important as the band goes on, is to help rejuvenate some old memories through song. My memories, sure, and those of my bandmates, but more importantly, the memories of the people who we play for. Music is so evocative, you can be put back in time by just a few notes of the right song. And this past Saturday at our Labor Day weekend gig at trusty old Ilda Pool in Annandale, it became even more crystal clear why this Second Wind experience has been so magical.

Some brief background: two years ago when we first played Ilda, our first ever live gig, Tim Poole, my neighbor and current Ilda president, asked me as we were setting up if we could ever play a song for him and his wife Katie, Van Morrison’s ‘Brown Eyed Girl’.  I said we’d try, but like all requests people ask you to play, you may get to it, you may not, depends on if it’s right for the band. I didn’t ask him why he wanted to hear that song, but I figured it held a special place in his heart for some reason.

Fast forward to earlier this year, and lo and behold, ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ surfaced as a song we would try and master. I was pleased someone else in the band suggested it; I had tried foisting it on the band back when Tim asked me and it got lost in a mass of other songs we were to try. But for some reason, here it was again, so we worked on it over a few weeks, and hey, it started sounding pretty good. It was somewhere between Jimmy Buffett’s slower version and Van’s original, but it did justice to the song, and I was tickled that we’d be able to roll it for Tim at the Labor Day bash at Ilda.

So it’s last Saturday night, and the song was slated for half way through our second set, and after waiting on Tim to return from a beer and food run so I’d be sure he was there when we rolled it, we launched into ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ as Tim and Katie, along with their three kids Griffin, Caroline and little Delaney, bopped and smiled to the song. They seemed so happy, and I felt that not only were we, as a band, fulfilling a goal of playing a song we learned, but we were recreating a time in someone’s life, in this instance, Tim and Katie. But it turns out it was even more special than just a random, fun old party song for the Pooles.

My wife Mimi talked to Katie the next day, and Katie told her she loved when we played the song so much, it had actually made her cry. Katie went on to say that sixteen years ago on the exact same night, the night of the Ilda party, on Labor Day Sunday 1992, Katie and her future husband Tim first met at the Starboard bar in Dewey Beach.  And what song came on the juke box that night? Yep. ‘Brown Eyed Girl.’ The two fell in love that night (or at least started falling in love, right?) and that song was to be a staple in their lives throughout their relationship. They played it at their wedding. They always smile when it comes on anywhere. And on a beautiful late summer night, with their three children at their feet and love in their hearts, good ol’ Second Wind gave Tim and Katie Poole their memories back for a second. We did our job.

And Katie’s eyes, of course brown eyes, filled with tears. Good tears. Tears that would make her remember the good ol’ times, when life wasn’t as busy, or as exhausting, or as complicated. Would she give up her life now for anything? Probably not. But for about three and a half minutes last Saturday night, she was back at The Starboard, carefree, feeling the miraculous tingles of love’s beginning, all with the soundtrack of one ‘Brown Eyed Girl.’

Say la de da.

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