"The Muffled Cries For Help From a Daddy of Four Beautiful Little Girls"

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Time Warped

A few days ago, my daughters and I were at another church in the middle of the week. It wasn't my own church, and we'd never been in it before.

So obviously, we had little choice but to snoop around every nook and cranny and see what this place was like. You know, kind of like when I visit your home and am obligated to open your medicine cabinet when I pretend to need to use the restroom.

During our investigation, back behind the small stage in the chapel, we found a door. I turned the handle. It gave.

I can't easily describe what happened next. I don't know if I was struck on the head, or if I'd eaten some bad tuna for lunch, but somehow I had stepped into a time warp. Generally, when I step into time warps there is a visual effect of psychedelic swirls spinning and eerie music. And I'm aware of others who travel through wardrobes or magic school buses.

But this time there was no visual cue to prepare me for this leap through time. In many ways, this secret room was obviously from another era. Sure, the carpet and wallcoverings were a tad dated, but that's just the nature of churches. Decorating decisions go through church committees, then to the board, then to a general church vote and ultimately presented for final approval by a founding church member hooked up to tubes in a nursing home only able to blink once for mauve and twice for wood paneling. Not surprisingly, by the time the whole process is completed, the colors decided upon have gone out of style a decade ago and the country-goose-in-bonnet wallpaper is no longer being produced. Some churches have taken sooooo long making decisions that it actually has worked out perfectly...because shag carpet is coming back in. I'm not kidding. I bought some. Of course they have new names like "frieze" instead of shag, but I smell what they're cooking. (It's just like the way they sell bell-bottoms as "flared legs.")

Anyway, the decor wasn't definitive proof of this time warp. What my girls and I found were two ancient artifacts that I haven't seen since last century.

Two 8-track tapes.

I held them in my hands and it took me back. Not only did I feel like I had slid back 30 years, I also felt like I'd been sucked out of that church and plopped inside a wood-paneled station wagon (probably the "back-back," remember that?).

And now I'm embarrassed to admit that I don't even remember what band they were from, because I had to spend way too long trying to explain to my girls what this was:

Me: Check this out. This is something from when I was a kid.
Kid: Is it a cotton gin?
Kid: I know, it's a telegraph.
(yes, my kids have been homeschooled.)
Kid: Is that one of them steam engines?
Me: No, it's an 8-track-tape. It's like an old version of a cassette tape.
Kid: What's a cassette?

By the way, we made it safely back to the present... or what we thought was the present. This may be some alternate reality, because when we returned, we found that Hillary Clinton was running for president. Go figure.


javamamma said...

So were you discovered? Did you put the 8 tracks back? Did you steal them...excuse me, retain them for evidence? Did you make it back to 2007 without much turbulence? What about your girls, are they OK?

Tyna said...

Scott, thank you for this post! I hadn't thought of my fathers wood-paneled station wagon in years. I well remember 'back-back'! Hope you made it back to 2007 without being discovered!

Annette said...

I'm wondering if one of those 8-tracks was a Merle Haggard tape because we had one. Too bad you didn't catch the name of it.

Mr. E said...

My first car had an 8-Track stereo in it! Oh, the memories of how I would be rocking along with Boston, or the Bee-Gees and have to take a pause for the track to switch over.

Gayle said...

What kind of education are you giving these kids? You left out what a record was!!!

When I was a senior in high school I inherited my grandmothers station wagon as my first car. (Hey, it had a stick shift and I've got a good imagination so I just revved her up and pretended she was a sports car!) But along with the car came an 8 track player and a gen-U-ine antique set of 8 track tapes. I learned all the words to Neal Diamond and Abba as well as a little Hank Williams jr. Enriched my life I tell ya. And has been a great weapon for my husband to use when he catches me singing "mamma-mia" in the shower.