'Till You're Home Again
“It seemed a fitting song to kiss the America I knew goodbye: You Belong to Me – The Duprees.
I heard it first back in ’62 when America was merely an innocent child. Before the Kennedys, Dr. King, Vietnam, the Gulf War, 9/11 and Hurricane Sandy. I was a young man then and I had just met my Suzie and I’d give anything to be back there again. At that diner in Sanford, sitting in the booth, smoking cigarettes, slurping shakes and foolin’ around. True no black kids were allowed in, which bothered me, but we never bore them no ill. Never. How could I when I had my Suzie?
Always in a frilly blue dress, spats and her hair in a bun. She had big brown eyes and a big white smile. And despite the sign in the door window she always sat next to me, in that booth, until we graduated High School (so long as the manager weren’t about).
But it was childish innocence back then I promise you.
We had alotta lessons to learn and boy your father’s generation learned them. So I can’t understand why they want history to repeat itself.”
“You can’t repeat the past Pops.” I said. “F. Scott Fitzgerald.”
“No? Then tell them politicians son because Christ almighty they’re sending us back to the dark ages. I’m glad your grandma isn’t here to see this… whatever you call it.”
He gestured at CNN news and sunk deeper into his hospital pillows. He looked really tired and I didn’t know what to say. I could tell he was back in 1962 and I didn’t want to disturb him. I went to back out the room and he stopped me.
“One step forward, two steps back, ya think?”
“Do me a favor son and get me some more coffee. This one’s cold.”
“Sure Pops,” I said.
“Could you leave your iPad? I like this one!”
It was Straight Outta Compton surprisingly, whistling out of my earphones. I pulled them out and handed Grandpa my iPhone. As I headed out the door and into the hallway I saw him reach over to look at Grandma. I think I smiled and then I wandered off. His old coffee was still hot though.
When I got back the Duprees were blaring out my phone. He had the picture of my Grandma on his chest and a big wet grin on his wrinkled face. His eyes were shut and I kissed him on the forehead and cried a little.
“Just remember ‘till you’re home again. You belong to me.”