Here's why your past and your future aren't necessarily linked:
I was on the way down to the Key West, driving her white Ford Mustang, wondering where this adventure was going. The summer of 1993 had been a hot sweltering summer, exactly one year before Hurricane Andrew hit South Florida, and it also had been a year of transition for me.
Just before we left, I made sure I brought my cassette tape of Pearl Jam’s first album, “10.” This was before all cars came with CD players, and this CD was, and still is one of my favorite discs ever spun.
As I was driving south down Federal Highway, which turned into US1 proper once you got out of Miami, I was thinking to myself how I’d love to be able to see this band in concert one day. I’d bought this CD at a used record shop in Fort Lauderdale just after it came out in late 1991, and I’d been addicted to it ever since.
But reality was, it’d be a L-O-O-N-G time before I’d have some pocket change for concert tickets. My divorce had just been finalized, and the lion’s share of any money I was making went straight to child support, lawyers fees, daycare, and health insurance, in pretty much that order.
Whatever I had left covered my rent and food for the kids — food for me was optional, but I was able to afford powdered protein shakes so they kept me going for a while.
I felt sort of awkward about going on this trip. After all, here I was with a hot blonde, driving her car SHE paid for… filled up with her gas she paid for… and staying in a hotel for a long weekend, that of course, she paid for.
All I had to offer was the music, which pretty much is something I’ve always been good for my entire life — ever since I was 14 when I first stumbled across all those used record shops down in the West Village.
Up until last night, I hadn’t thought about that trip to the Florida Keys in a long time. But you see, last night I took my son to the St. Pete Times Forum and we sat through the most incredible concert I’ve ever seen. We saw Pearl Jam play through a full set plus 2 encores, in an inspiring show that went on for almost 2 and a half hours. And as if they knew I was in the audience, they played nearly all of the songs off their first album, “10,” the same album that’s kept me company for so many years.
It was by far, the best concert I’d ever seen, and one that felt extra special because I’ve waited such a long time to see them.
Oh, and as far as whatever happened to the hot blonde… well, this Saturday will be our 14th wedding anniversary, so that worked out pretty good as well. See, sometimes nice guys do finish first, and sometimes things do work out for the best.
I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes, from columnist and writer Andrew Corsello — I hope you enjoy it, too: “It is far sweeter to escape, than to be merely free.”
Have a great weekend and happy father’s day if you are a dad.
Now go sell something, Craig Garber
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