Memorial Day weekend always summons the same set of memories.
My uncles — my mother’s brothers — and my dad occasionally gathered for a guys’ getaway at the same northern Wisconsin resort on Memorial Day weekend. It seemed that it always was cold and wet, much as yesterday was. Few fish, if any, were caught.
During the summer, some of my uncles and their families reconvened at the same resort. Our family also traveled back up north to be with them. We were at the far end of that S-shaped lake, at a state forest campground. You can figure out who could afford what.
If my dad could start his small boat motor — the one notorious for running only when not in the water — we’d take our small aluminum rowboat down to the resort. More often than not, we drove.
That memory, among the first realizations of haves and have-nots, lingers to this day. As does the memory of there being nothing on the radio.
We took radios up north, but you couldn’t get anything decent. Local shopping shows. Country music. Your only hope was that the atmospheric conditions would allow you to pull in WLS out of Chicago or KAAY out of Little Rock late at night … when everything was supposed to be quiet in the Northwoods.
On Memorial Day weekend 1973, this wholly appropriate song was back on the WLS charts: “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.”
Yeah, we tried sometimes. But we just couldn’t, well, you know.
What we needed to get us through those weekends up north was this, something KAAY might have dropped on “Beaker Street” late at night.
This is a heavier version perhaps as envisioned by Jeff Beck, who helped Stevie Wonder write it.