Lawn Party

Every once in a while a song on the radio will bring up a dormant memory that catches me off guard. The other day, listening to Casey Kasem’s Flashback Top 40, the Doobie Brother’s “Black Water” came on and sent me back to an impromptu lawn party in 1974.

My brother must have just bought the album What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits. He didn’t buy singles. Singles were for girls.

“Black Water” was (and is) a bouncy, bluesy, sing-along kinda song. Everyone liked it. This particular summer day my brother somehow convinced my mother to let him open the front windows and turn the stereo around so the speakers faced out. This was no small task as we had a giant console stereo with built in speakers that held all of my fathers Mantovani & Tennessee Ernie Ford albums in a cupboard underneath.

Once the album was playing my brother pulled my mom off the front porch to dance on the lawn. Our front porch was a neighborhood stopping place which meant in no time a dozen teenagers, and a pack of little kids, were out on the lawn. Any of the neighbors still inside came outside and everybody outside joined in, dancing and singing.

My brother must have pulled out Toulouse Street and other albums because I remember dancing to “Jesus is Just Alright”, “Listen to the Music” and “China Grove” before the party ran out of steam and my mother retreated to the porch glider.

I remember the cover of that Toulouse album because the band members looked like my brothers (and the inside of the album was racy). Actually, the Doobie Brothers looked like everyone’s brothers at that point in the seventies when long hair, mustaches and beards were de rigueur. It was a fashion moment I hope we never see again.

But I’m glad I remembered that lawn party, long hair & all.

“Well I built me a raft and she’s ready for floatin’…”