Performer: Night Ranger
Songwriter: Jack Blades
Original Release: Dawn Patrol
Definitive Version: None
I always liked this song, even after Night Ranger drove off the edge of Wuss Cliff with Sister Christian. Not long before I started working on this list, I rediscovered it on YouTube and realized how much I liked it, so here it is.
I’ve recently rediscovered another formerly lost early 1980s song through the magic of YouTube—Silverado by The Marshall Tucker Band. The live version of that song from 1981 just smokes, and were I starting the list now, it would make it. I could A/B it here, but it wouldn’t rate this high—probably somewhere in the 700s.
Anyway, Laurie and I had talked about going to Europe on vacation, well, pretty much since we met. But after our Mexico excursion in 2008, that talk increased.
The plan always was England. After becoming a huge Thomas Hardy fan at Wabash, I had wanted to go back to England and knock around Sussex County—Hardy’s Wessex. Then, there were the Cotswolds—beautiful country that I wanted to see again.
Laurie wanted to tour the Isle of Man, and that sounded pretty good to me. And while we’re there, we got to get to Wales and maybe Scotland, and, of course, Ireland’s close by …
The England trip had turned into a Colossus, but a bigger problem existed: Neither of us had much vacation time.
I’ve had three weeks of paid vacation since I started at my magazine, and this made our mushrooming England plans all but impossible. Laurie and I knew that such a trip would require at least two weeks—and certainly we still wouldn’t be able to see everything we might want in England, let alone Scotland, Wales, etc.
But we also take annual smaller trips, such as to Wisconsin or to Torch Lake, that require time, and if we wanted a two-week British Isles jaunt, we would have to eliminate most of the smaller trips to do so.
And that pretty much was our only option, because the magazine publisher absolutely refuses to budge on granting me a fourth week of vacation. This was despite receiving annual review after annual review where my value to the company had been expressed beyond the bounds of effusiveness.
When I began my fifth year in 2010, I even offered to the editor that I would forgo a raise in exchange for a fourth week of vacation. I didn’t want to, mind you, but I had reached a point both monetarily and in life where the time was more important than (more) money. My request was denied. The publisher didn’t want to adjust company policy of three weeks’ vacation, period, on an ad hoc basis—even for an exemplary employee.
Finally, in 2011, on the anniversary of my fifth year of employment—an anniversary that had meant the receipt of at least a fourth week of vacation at a couple of my newspapers—I made one final play: a week of unpaid time off for the purpose of a major vacation.
This offer, I thought, proved beyond any doubt that I didn’t care about the money; I just wanted the extra time off, and I was willing to sacrifice a week’s pay—about $1,000 after taxes—to get it. This offer, perhaps unsurprisingly, was accepted.
However, in the mean time, plans had changed: Laurie and I no longer wanted to go to the British Isles. I decided, as our plans grew into this overwhelming chimera, that I didn’t want a stressful vacation. Instead, I wanted something like what we had in Mexico—a cool place where we spent a good percentage of our time eating, drinking and hanging out.
Consequently, I decided there was only one place for us: Italy. To me, Italy, which, of course, had cultural destinations to burn, seemed like the place most similar to Mexico in that regard. When I voiced my new plan and the rationale to Laurie, she immediately took to the idea.
Well, then we have to go to Venice. And Florence. And Rome. And …
Here we go again.