Thursday, August 15, 2013

No. 294 – Gold Dust Woman

Performer: Fleetwood Mac
Songwriter: Stevie Nicks
Original Release: Rumours
Year: 1977
Definitive Version: None.

Of course, Rumours was everywhere in 1977 to the point where I was sick of it. Don’t get me wrong, I liked Fleetwood Mac, the album that introduced Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks to the world, but Rumours hype drove me nuts. It couldn’t be THAT good, could it?

At Christmas 1977, I got the album as a present from my older—and much cooler—cousin, Tom. I wasn’t interested, but if Tommy thought Rumours was something I needed to have, then who was I to doubt his wisdom? Of course, he was right.

As I got older, the thing that stood out about the album in particular was this song. I mean, of course, there are a lot of great songs on there, but it’s a seemingly endless string of jangly pop rock songs about broken relationships … until you get to the end.

Gold Dust Woman then takes you on a harrowing ride through a glitter-free L.A. scene that Nicks knew all too well. My friend Terry at The Dispatch once remarked that he never fully appreciated what a grimy song this was until he heard Hole’s cover of it. (Of course, one could say that Courtney Love could grime up Happy Birthday to You.) It tends to get lost in the syrup.

Snowmageddon in 2011 was by far the biggest blizzard in which I ever was involved in terms of snowfall, but it wasn’t the only one. The Great Blizzard of ’78 ripped through Columbus in late January of that year with almost no warning.

I had no idea what was going on until I got up at 6 in the morning to go to school. By that time, the wind was whipping the snow so hard, it seeped through the cracks in the back door to form a small drift in the living room. We didn’t even have to wait for the official closure of school—Mom refused to let us go (much to my delight). She took out some masking tape to close the gaps around the door and keep the snow out.

We didn’t leave the house that day, a Thursday. The only time an exterior door was opened was in the morning when I let Sugar out to go to the bathroom. Because I couldn’t open the back door, I let her out the front where snow hadn’t started to pile up. She couldn’t make it to the grass before going, because the wind just about blew her away. It was like she just said, I’d love to sniff around, but I gotta go NOW and get inside. The wind hit 69 mph at Port Columbus that day, a record.

The next day when the snow ended—yet school remained closed (much to my continued delight)—we dudded up to see how bad it was, or how good depending on your point of view. We didn’t get far: The snow buried the back porch. Out front, another drift at least 2 feet deep greeted us off the doorstep. OK, everyone, back inside.

By Saturday, there was movement again. Streets were being plowed, which led to the largest snow piles I ever saw—glorious mounds that led to all sorts of later hiking, sliding and diving funby Marty, Bill and me. Dad came over and shoveled out the front walk to the Condo.

Why did Dad do this? Well, he had come to get us because he and Laura were to be married that day, and, of course, we were all going to attend … assuming there was going to be a wedding that day, which, of course, there wasn’t.

Yes, Dad and Laura’s originally scheduled wedding date was wiped out by the blizzard. Instead, Dad took us over to Meem and Pop’s home, where Laura spent the night(s) ahead of the wedding date. I don’t remember much about that particular visit other than it seemed particularly cozy inside—and we were able to shoot some pool. (The pool table reverted to Pop’s house after the divorce.)

You might think that having the snowstorm of the century wipe out your wedding date was an omen, but Dad and Laura merely rescheduled it for a week later in February.

The actual wedding in Worthington was a weird experience. It wasn’t the first wedding I’d attended (Aunt Nan’s in 1976), but it was strange to see a parent get remarried—particularly considering the history of how Dad was married to Mom when he met Laura. I didn’t yet harbor the ill well that would come later.

But Dad and Laura have been together ever since, so obviously they made the right decision, come Hell or high snow.

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