Friday, March 14, 2014

No. 83 – Los Endos

Performer: Genesis
Songwriters: Tony Banks, Phil Collins, Steve Hackett, Mike Rutherford
Original Release: A Trick of the Tail
Year: 1976
Definitive Version: Live at Wembley Stadium, 1987. This version features the peak of the Drum Duet created by Phil Collins and longtime touring drummer Chester Thompson, which was the only drum break aside from Neil Peart’s that ever interested me.

Scott and I always have been close, but the early Nineties, when I was living in Grand Blanc and Scott was at Ball State might have been the peak of our relationship. Now that Scott was more or less of drinking age, we were full-time running mates. We could go anywhere together and did, including vacations.

When we were in Columbus together during that time, that meant an automatic run to BW-3, the original location—now gone—across High Street on the corner of Woodruff from Ohio State. If only Timeout, just up the street a couple of blocks, were still there, we’d have been set.

We’d get our wings, drinks, music and trivia on, staying pretty much till closing time. I had a lot of practice derived from driving home from the White Horse every weekend, so I always drove, and nothing ever happened.

Well, that’s not entirely true. Sometimes, we’d still be in the mood to hang out, so instead of going home, we’d drive by Northam Park—the site of my greatest baseball exploits—and park in the huge lot behind St. Agatha’s Church on the southeast corner of that superblock.

There, like during New Year’s Eve of 1987, we’d talk about whatever needed to still be talked about, reminisce or do whatever, while we had Genesis—good late-night chill-but-not-too-chill tuneage—on on the car stereo. Scott, of course, had been my main Genesis connection, feeding me an endless stream of bootlegs that he’d found. Los Endos, being the closing song of many shows and thus many bootlegs, was a frequent play.

One night, sometime in 1993 while at St. Agatha, we decided to make a grand tour of the past. We drove by all of our old homes, even the one on Norway that Scott moved out of when he was 3 months old. We went past all of our old schools, toured our places of work and creeped by all of the homes of our former flames.

As we headed home, for some reason, I decided to turn into the Tremont Shopping Center, across Tremont Road from Northam, where our odyssey had begun earlier that night. I’d had a lot of history with Tremont, having bought my first pack of basketball cards there when I was 7 and, of course, the cherry Cokes at the Chef-O-Nette on the corner after baseball practices.

I told Scott all about the stores, many of which I was happy to see were still the same, when we went around the corner of the pharmacy. Back there, the three small shops always fascinated me. One was a corner barber shop that was quintessential old school. At Carl’s, you half-expected to find copies of Field & Stream magazine from 1959 when you went and were disappointed when you didn’t. It was still there.

Next to Carl’s was … hello, what’s this? The sign said Chuck & Barb’s Card Store, grand opening. What? A card shop in Tremont? Yes, apparently, the longtime lawyer and insurance agent tenants had moved out and a card store was moving in. OK, I have to stop by tomorrow on the way out of town.

We got back in my car and were leaving when all of a sudden a cop car turned in front of us, giving us the spotlight. Uh oh. Scott didn’t have to tell me to cool it. I already knew.

What are you guys doing? I told him the truth. We grew up in this area and were driving around, and I noticed that this new card shop, and I wanted to check it out. (A likely story, right?) He asked to see my drivers license. I wasn’t as concerned as I probably should have been. I felt OK, and I would’ve passed a field sobriety test if asked. Still … let’s not go there, shall we?

As he ran my Michigan license, Scott and I noticed a second cop car pulled around behind us. Then I said to Scott, “check it out.” A third cop car was parked on a side street off Redding Road, facing our direction, lights off. Three cop cars … for what? I’m guessing the first cop spotted two ne’er-do-wells with noses pressed to the window and called in for backup of a possible burglary.

Scott and I looked at each other and did everything we could to keep straight faces as visions of the Canadian-U.S. border flashed through our minds. Slow night in The Golden Ghetto, officers?

Soon enough, the first cop handed me my license, as the other two cars peeled off. “OK, have a good evening.” I rolled up my window, thankful he never got close enough to get a whiff of my breath, and Scott and I drove home. We didn’t get far before busting up laughing. We’d been gone too long, apparently, so UA rolled out the welcome wagon.

(While trying to pinpoint when this event took place, I learned that Chuck & Barb’s will close tomorrow—March 15—after nearly 21 years of operation. Eventually, it seems, no card stores will remain.)

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