I got on the interstate and headed north. Before long I was in Tennessee, and shortly after that I was in Nashville. A few more miles and I was in Hermitage, the home of Andrew Jackson and the storage locker of so many memories. I made a left hand turn into the neighborhood I grew up in and in an instant I was in 1992.
I’d gone back home for a funeral. A funeral for my oldest friend’s father. He was a good man that had treated his daughter’s friends with incredible kindness and we were all making our way there to honor him.
I sat at an intersection that I’d crossed a million times in my younger days and all of a sudden it was like the memory of every song that had played while I waited at that intersection came flooding back.
Driving by my old elementary school I could have almost sworn I saw my old bike chained up outside; somewhere off in the distance I heard the echo of What A Wonderful World that my fourth grade teacher played every afternoon.
That song followed me to the funeral home where I shook the hands of friends I hadn’t seen since Mama’s funeral. As Louis Armstrong said, each “how’ve you been” was loaded with thirty years of unspoken I love yous.
We stood there in the chapel and reminisced. We laughed at old stories and cried at fresh sorrows.
There wasn’t a lot of crying, which I think my friend’s father would have preferred. As he had done so many times in life, his funeral gave space for us to gather and enjoy each other’s company.
When I got back on the interstate to head home, I started to listen to a podcast but somehow it didn’t seem right. With the Nashville skyline in my windshield and my childhood in my rear view I put on a playlist of all those songs that were the soundtrack to so many memories and relived each and every one of them, three minutes at a time.