Sunday, January 5, 2014

No. 151 – Fresh Tendrils

Performer: Soundgarden
Songwriters: Matt Cameron, Chris Cornell
Original Release: Superunknown
Year: 1994
Definitive Version: None.

I knew this would happen at some point—and with this particular year. I have so many songs from 1994 where stories overlap that it’s almost impossible to not repeat myself in some way.

For example, this was a huge song in the aftermath of my falling out with my family over Debbie in the fall. I had a great sense of dread and angst, a need to scream out. I once wrote that Dad inadvertently made me a heavy-metal fan, and to the extent to which I listened to Soundgarden and Tool particularly during that time, it’s true.

I put this song on, and I smell wood-fire smoke as the fall days grow darker and chillier. I see The Anderson’s Country Store and Dickie’s jeans (because that’s what it sold, and each store had a whole row of them). One problem: I’ve already written about all that, so, like I said, some overlap.

Well, with a large part of my family pushing me out, I had a lot of room for new relationships, and Debbie’s family and friends filled the space. I don’t remember specifically when I met Debbie’s family. I’m sure I met her mother (and therefore her brother, who lived at home) almost right away, because Debbie was so close to her.

I would suspect I met her sister and extended family soon after at Pat’s spread out by Alexandria, northeast of Columbus on the way to Newark. I met most of them all at once, because two of Pat’s children were there every weekend for supper. (Debbie’s other niece—and her family—I met separately.)

We usually passed on the supper, which was down home in every sense of the word and showed up mid-afternoon. The fur usually flew amid this boisterous—and truth be told, somewhat redneck—family, and I did the smart thing and kept my yapper shut. They were very welcoming.

I remember meeting Debbie’s friends that fall, however. The first friend I met was Claudia, Debbie’s best friend from Sacramento, Calif. She long before had scheduled a trip to Columbus that just happened to coincide with one of the first weekends after the rift opened, if not the first.

The three of us went to Texas Roadhouse in Gahanna for dinner, which was my first experience with a restaurant where you could eat peanuts while you waited for a table and just throw the shells on the floor. I thought that was pretty cool at the time. Claudia gave me the thumbs-up.

Later, I met Debbie’s closest friends in Columbus—Sharon and Roger. That night Debbie made dinner at her place, and the four of us got along famously. Debbie was in a real good mood that night and turned on the gas fireplace that she had in her apartment.

However, it still was warm enough outside that given enough wine at dinner, Debbie fell asleep in her recliner soon afterward, leaving me to entertain her friends. Sharon and Roger—being good friends—awkwardly took their leave before long, to Debbie’s later embarrassment.

I was by far the youngest of anyone in Debbie’s circle of friends (just as she was by far the oldest in mine), but I didn’t mind. Anything that kept my mind off the anguish I felt from time to time was fine with me.

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