Monday, February 24, 2014

No. 101 – Evan

Performer: Jan Hammer
Songwriter: Jan Hammer
Original Release: Miami Vice soundtrack
Year: 1985
Definitive Version: None.

When I bought my first CD player, I was in the midst of recording nearly every Miami Vice episode rerunning on USA. Soon after, I found an album called Escape from Television by Jan Hammer that was a collection of his music from Miami Vice. I had to have it.

Unfortunately, Evan—by far my favorite tune—wasn’t on there, so I had to go back to the source. I bought a tape of the Miami Vice Soundtrack. (I didn’t want to pay CD price.)

Like the prodigal namesake of the song, I went home, for Christmas in 1990 for the first time in three years. I’d enjoyed spending Christmas in New Buffalo the past two years, but after staying at Dad’s house for the first time in years for the Rush concert in June, I wanted to stay there for Christmas for the first time. Besides, with Matt, 6, and Casey, 2, it would be a lot more fun Christmas morning to be at Dad’s than anywhere else. Jin was coming in from Chicago; Scott, of course, was already home on break from Ball State.

However, I was a little concerned about my schedule. My first week in Sports at The Journal was the previous week. I just was starting to orient my body for overnight work when it was time to head home.

This was a concern because Dad was notorious back then for not approving of late sleeping. He didn’t forbid it, per se, but you definitely got the stinkeye and maybe the usual Dad lecture if you slept past 9. I thought it was important to pre-emptively explain that when I came in on the 23rd, at about 4 in the morning after my Saturday shift, I’d want to sleep in to keep my body clock on the right schedule.

Well, sleeping in late due to work is a different beast from sleeping in late due to sloth, so no problem at all. In fact, he was awake, along with Keiki, when I arrived. I was upstairs in the guest room with Jin.

Christmas Eve was a blast. After an appropriate amount of time following the boys going to bed, it was time to don the Santa cap—Scott and I each grabbed one—and get to work. I’d never been Santa to this extent before—setting up presents ahead of time—even for Scott when he was a kid. In fact, as it turned out, maybe no one had.

The big present that year, for Casey, was a huge collection of cardboard bricks that you could stack up and knock over. Casey was a huge Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fan, so this was right up his alley. What no one realized at the time of purchase was that it wasn’t just some assembly required, it was ALL assembly required, including tearing off the excess cardboard from the various tabs and slots.

Laura, Jin, Scott and I all worked on this while Dad worked on other gift projects, and it took the four of us two hours to tear everything apart. The folding and assembly took only slightly less time.

We stacked the bricks in the doorway of the living room where the Christmas tree and presents were. This led to much hilarity when I re-created Larry “Bud” Melman’s “ich bin ein Berliner” smashing through The Wall on Late Night with David Letterman. Nothing’s funnier when you’re running on fumes than slapstick.

It definitely was an early wakeup the next day. Dad let me sleep in as long as he could, but when young kids and Christmas are involved, an early morning is an accepted part of the deal.

It was a pretty fun Christmas, although I don’t remember much about the day itself or what I got that year. It just felt good to be home and surrounded by my entire family. Later that day, Jin asked whether I wanted to go out and learn how to drive a stick shift, because, well, I needed to learn if I was going to buy a car that had a manual transmission. I did. It was a bit rough, but I figured I’d get the hang of it, eventually …

With that, 900 songs down, 100 to go. We’re about to enter the pantheon of music.

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