Weeping Willows


No sunlight is more golden than the light through the branches of the weeping willow tree. Whenever the June sun shines clear out of the cerulean sky I think back to the last few days of High School. ND was surrounded with weeping willow trees. (still is for that matter). Those last few days of the school year, as we were taking our Regents Exams, the drafty old windows would be cranked open, and the breeze through those willow branches would taunt us with the promises of freedom. Look up from your desk for just a moment, and the illuminated willow branches outside the window would wave to you like sirens calling sailors to their watery graves. “Forget the Geometry Exam!”, “Come out and play!”, “Summer is almost here!”.

When the yearbooks were signed, and the bell sounded for the final time, the ties would come off, and we had all we could do to keep from grabbing the nearest plaid skirted girl, and making out in the bushes. (That didn’t happen until after dark usually)

I read once that the average teenage male thinks about girls once every 5 minutes. I think that is  woefully under estimated. Put the average teenage male in close proximity to the plaid skirted female, and it pretty much dominates his every waking thought. The mere sight of certain knee caps in my Religion class was enough to make some of us unwilling to stand up without a strategically placed textbook.

June was the season of parties in the woods, or at the end of dirt roads. It was the season of drinking outdoors without freezing your ass off.  It was no longer necessary to have a backseat at your disposal. Any shrub, or shadowy park would do. (The frugality of the Nuns taught us how to be resourceful.)

As I have said before, if you only knew me from the stories on this blog, you’d think that my adolescence was spent purely in the pursuit of girls and alcohol. It wasn’t. However, for the life of me I cannot remember what else I did. I think those were the brain cells that I sacrificed in college.

I can distinctly remember one golden June afternoon when Bella and I made a trip to buy beer in her parents rusty Safari Station Wagon. We loving referred to it was the Deathmobile, as much for the handling, as for Bella’s driving. She somehow managed to put it into a cornfield after seeing a hot guy in a convertible once, but that’s a story for another time.

The sunlight streamed through the trees, and the wind rushed through the open windows as we listened to 97 Rock, or some such lousy WNY Classic Rawk station. We had picked up Sheila Welch, and were on our way to buy beer from the one convenience store on East Main Street that would sell to minors.

Well, I should say “the one store that would sell to Sheila”, because they were under the impression she was 21. (It would be another 10 years before someone mistook me for a 21 year old). It was awful nice of Sheila to buy the beer for us as she wasn’t invited to the party where we’d be drinking it. To this day I don’t know how Bella sweet talked her into helping us. Hopefully, no sexual favors were exchanged. At least, they weren’t exchanged with me unfortunately.

For such a fleeting moment in life, these clandestine drinking parties take up a disproportionate amount of memory. Surely there were just a handful of them, although it seems like they all blend together into one golden evening in my mind; an evening full of the promise of the sweet, malty buzz of cheap beer, and the soft, flowery scent of girls. Even 25 years later, it’s hard to ask for a lot more out of life than that. Maybe that’s a sad thing, but I prefer to think of it as a happy one. It’s a sign that some things in life do transcend time, and space, and can offer us a taste of that immortality that surely hides behind the veil of our material world. The promise and hope of greater things to come, when you know that great things have already arrived. The way I felt sitting at a desk, looking out a window at the sunlight  illuminating the leaves of a willow tree on a June afternoon. A golden light showing me the way into a world full of possibilities.

So interweb friends, right now I would like nothing more than to invite you all over for a bonfire, and party at my place. Sadly, my status as a 300 lb. serial killer requires a certain degree of anonymity, so that will not be possible. Instead, consider the comment box to be our virtual spring fling. The tunes are on, I just tapped the keg, and there’s a box of Franzia in the fridge. Help yourself! I only ask that if you get sick in the comment box, you be so kind as to clean up after yourself. Experience has taught me that if you leave a puddle of sick on the floor overnight, it’s damn hard to get the smell out before the folks come home.

And as KYA pointed out in yesterday’s comment box, the blog comment is the 21st century equivalent of signing a yearbook.

Stay Gold Pony Boy,

Tom

8 thoughts on “Weeping Willows

  1. This was an excellent story to kick off a fresh pre-summer morning. Those were the days, for sure, but I have to remind myself that these are great days too. It’s amazing how much changes for the better before you know it and is immediately taken for granted. Now you can buy beer legally, throw a party without waiting for your parents to go on vacation, and talk to pretty girls without stressing over whether or not they might like you too.

    Heck, we talk to pretty girls all the time now! This is success!

    I didn’t barf in the comment box, but I can’t say the same for the garden. Please accept this mixtape as my means of apology. It’s Beach Boys – Surfin’ Safari. 18 times.

  2. I was wondering if your Regents diploma opened as many secret success doors as mine did?
    I once had a non New York State resident inquire about what the hell it even was.
    They thought it was a made up credential.

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