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    Dancing Queen

            At around 5:30 this morning, on my way to train a client, my radio spit out “Dancing Queen” by Abba. It had been a long time since I heard that song. But it instantly transported me to a specific night in my life.
            It was early in 1977, right around this time of year. On this Saturday night, I was doing some homework in my father’s study. This room was my dad’s private sanctuary, decorated in Ornate European Testosterone. Lots of dark, heavy wood, some of it colored. A crest of swords over a marble fireplace. Hardwood floor. A desk covered in red and black leather. Masculine trinkets everywhere, like a replica of an 1800’s sailing ship, and an eighteen inch ceramic red bull with gold horns. Lots of old books. The room had a great energy, and I spent as much time in there as I could.
            So I’m doing some homework, and my mind is drifting towards girls, as is often the case with thirteen year old boys. The radio is on. I even remember the station: WRKO. At the time, the AM top forty hit machine of Boston. The one song they were playing to death was Abba’s “Dancing Queen”. They must have played it a half dozen times during the three hours I spent in that room. But it worked. Half way through the night, I was hooked on that friggin’ tune.
            What’s fascinating is not what happened that night, because let’s face it, it wasn’t terribly exciting. No, what’s fascinating is that through the connection of music, a memory is burned into my consciousness. Actually, more than a memory. A feeling. Not as in “sadness” or “joy”, but as in a way I felt. An atmosphere. An ambience. A Sunday Effect sort of thing. I remember exactly what it felt like to be me experiencing my life on that night. And because of my physical environment, namely my dad’s study, because of who I was in those moments, and because of the music, that night felt uniquely different than any other night of my life. There have been hundreds, if not thousands, of these little events. Where my experience feels similar to, but subtly unique from, any other experience of my life.
            This morning, I briefly got taken back to that night. And of course, it made me miss my dad. I remember him coming in to check on me a few times that night back in 1977. He would open the doors to his study, stand at the top of the three stairs leading down into it, and ask me how I was doing. He was probably very happy that his thirteen year old son was at home doing homework on a Saturday night instead of out causing trouble. It wouldn’t always be this way, and he probably knew that, so there might have more than a hint of gratitude in him about it.
            Education was very important to my dad, and he passed that onto me. More important than even education was an insatiable curiosity and unending desire to learn. My dad had those seeds in him, and he planted them in me. I grew those seeds into trees that still flourish within me today. And will until my last moment on this earth. Another gift from my father. Thanx dad. I love you. And thirteen-year-old-boy, do I miss you.

    ©2009 Clint Piatelli. All Rights (and Dad’s study full of manly Wrongs) Reserved.

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