It had been a long day, rising early, heading to Mckinney to meet with Zoë and Evan and a banker.

Of course we went to IKEA…it was just a few miles away.

And, when you go to IKEA, you walk and walk and walk.

Cheesecake Factory for dinner, and a quick walk through Stonebriar Centre, a bargain on a sport jacket at Penney’s I have been looking for , (yes, it even has patches on the sleeves…very professorial) and we were on our way home.

As we approached Greenville (I like to go the back way), Wendy said, “Oh, the back of my neck…I really need that massage heating pad.”

(Back of my neck, summer in the city, Dallas morning news paper route, waiting for papers one morning, dozing in the car, waking up to a horrifying scene in the car next to me, one of my high school friends whaling on his younger brother in the front seat of his car, punching and punching…we never did this in our family…my brothers and I NEVER EVER hit each other!)

“You know what I just thought of when you said ‘the back of my neck’? “Summer in the City”.

We started to sing it together…
“Hot time, summer in the city, back of my neck gettin’ burned and gritty”

“No,” Wendy said, “dirty and gritty. Isn’t it?”

“No, summer in the city, burned…like sunburn.”

She said I was probably right. (She actually said that…can you believe it? I know!)

“You have to realize,” she went on, “whenever I got a new album, they didn’t use to have the words on the cover, so I would play it on my little green suitcase type record player that I named Malcolm, listen to a line, pick up the arm of the record player, write down the words, try to put the arm back down in the same place, listen to the next line, pick it up, write it down…it took a long time and a lot of work to learn a song. Did you do that?”

“No, I just sang it the way I heard it. Never really thought about the words.”

“Sing it,” she said, “sing “Summer in the city.””

And so I did…without thinking…just plowing through.

“Hot time, summer in the city,
Back my neck gettin’ burned and gritty,
Cool cat, lookin’ for the kitty,
Gonna look in every corner of the city.

All right, people at the bus stop
Walkin’ on the sidewalk, strikin’ dirty matches”

Her laughter was infectious.

I couldn’t sing any more.

I couldn’t remember the rest of the words, anyway.


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