06 March 2003

I said goodbye to the car last week. Said goodbye to 8 and a half years, 160,000 miles, the old boy’s been with me awhile. It feels very sad. I played “Prisoners (Of Rock and Roll)” by Neil Young and Crazy Horse to send him off. That’s a happy song. Very loud, volatile, road music. I feel sad. I’ve seen everything in that car. It has come to define me in many ways. It’s known simply as “The Car,” and everyone who sees it knows it’s mine.
Neil wrote a song about his first car. I am writing this paean.
I drove home from Tippecanoe with Brian when I was 18 and he was 16. There was lightning on the horizon and I was afraid it was going to rain.
Jeremy and I listened to the Cub’s game on the way to Ouabache, and the lights of the small towns glowed as if on film.
I had my first kiss in that car and my first road trip and my first day of college and my first time seeing the aurora borealis, camped alone near Moose Mountain is Saskatchewan. Further north, on Wakesieu, lightning struck far away even though the sky was sunny.
There was the road in Nebraska, between Omaha and the National Forest where Crazy Horse became the best band in the fucking world.
I huddled alone against the cold snowy wind in Oklahoma and used it as a shield to pitch my tent.
I watched the rain obscure the fusillade of stars in Wind Cave and slept there against the wheel.
There were the trips with Billy and Herbie to Illinois in the middle of the night for no reason other than we were young and knew we didn’t need a reason to have fun.
There was the wind that blew open the hatch and bent the door and tore the tissues from Sarah’s pockets and sent them wafting far over the barren fields of Ohio.
There were the columns of rain that hung over the grain elevators, all the way from the sky to the ground. That was in Grand Forks and the Beatles were on the radio.
I told Sarah I was in love with her sitting in my car in the driveway. We stayed up all night the summer before, talking, and listening to music and sometimes just sitting in silence.
I saw the house where I was born and the jagged magnificence of the Bad Lands.

It’s all spiritual, all of this, even when I cursed it for breaking down on me on 65. In many ways it won’t ever die.
We went all the way to Saskatchewan when everyone told us we shouldn’t. People tell us that we play to loud, but they don’t know what our music’s about.


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