Songwriter: Ray Davies
Original Release: Single
Definitive Version: Come Dancing with The Kinks, 1986
As I’ve mentioned, sometimes life has a way of messing up the best-laid plans and schemes. One time was in September 1987.
For my magazine publishing class at Northwestern, I planned to drive from Evanston to Frankenmuth, Mich., to do a story on Bronner’s. If Bronner’s isn’t the world’s largest Christmas store, it certainly used to be, and I couldn’t imagine one that was larger. It seemed like the perfect subject for a magazine that was based on weekend driving travel around Chicago.
My plan was to drive over on Saturday to walk around and do some interviews, spend the night in the area and come back Sunday. Then I got a call that messed everything up. Jessica was planning a party Saturday night, and, well, I couldn’t miss that.
A little back story: About a month before, Jessica, who also worked at the YMCA, had taken me to see The Pat Metheny Group at Ravinia and straight out told me that she wanted us to get together, but she had just broken up with her boyfriend of 2 years and wasn’t quite ready. She’d let me know when she was.
So you can see why I needed to change my plans. OK, I figured. I still can get up early in the morning and drive over and back on Sunday. It’s not that far of a drive, right? Maybe three or four hours, I figured.
Well, to make a long prelude to a story short, the party went great. Later in the night, someone heard that one of my favorite blues bands was playing not far from Jessica’s place. I was ready to go with everyone else, but Jessica literally pulled me back and said, no, you need to stay and help me clean. What she actually was saying was, you need to stay and help me clean and then we can make out while everyone’s gone.
As you can imagine, I was OK with that. While we were on the couch, Jessica told me she wanted me to spend the night. As you can imagine, I was more than OK with that. But, she noted, it’s my time of the month, so we can’t do anything. As you can imagine, I wasn’t OK with that at all, but at least that’s a temporary condition, and the long-range forecast looked good.
I told her of my travel plans and invited her to come along. She said yes, and we got up the next morning at the crack of dawn to head out. OK, it really was mid-morning by the time we left for Frankenmuth. I had just bought Come Dancing, which was The Kinks’ latest greatest hits tape, and we had that on the car stereo as we drove off on our little adventure.
Of course, in thinking that the drive to Frankenmuth was about a three- or four-hour drive, I had underestimated the drive by about, oh, half. Before long, it was late afternoon, and I realized that we’d have no time to get to Frankenmuth to talk to anyone and turn around and drive back in one day. My big plans had been blown up by circumstance—not that I was that upset about the reason.
But we were close enough to Lansing that Jessica said, well, my sister goes to Michigan State. If we’re this close, can we drive up and hang out with her? At this point, my agenda was shot, so why not?
So on the day I should have been coming back from Frankenmuth, I ended up spending the day at a bar in East Lansing with Jessica’s sister and her boyfriend watching the Tigers win the 1987 East Division race on the last day of the season by beating Toronto in what was a major comeback/collapse. I was rooting for the Jays all the way, but everyone in the bar was going crazy for the Tigers, so that was kind of cool.
When it was over, Jessica and I headed home. I decided I’d just do the interviews I needed over the phone. Really, driving all the way to Frankenmuth was a hair-brained scheme anyway. It could have worked out, but that it didn’t for the reasons that it did was a-OK with me. Jessica and I made plans to see each other the next weekend. I could hardly wait.