When I think about Memorial Day weekend, all the usual things related to the holiday come to mind — but I also think about eight-track cassettes. Hmmm. I guess that takes some explanation.
First let me say that I went through the entire eight-track era and never had a car with a built-in player. Although I remember eight-tracks with fondness, and had several different chariots during that period in my history, the only way I could listen to tapes in the car was on a portable player I bought separately.
It was a nice little unit — sort of a quasi-portable, with a carrying handle on top and the ability to run on batteries. However, it was oddly-shaped and a little awkward and heavy, which – along with a short battery life – made it a poor candidate to ride along with us in the car. But it did have a saving grace in the form of a built-in AC adapter and cord, so we ended up using it around the house and not so much in the car.
It was that old player that came to mind as I thought about Memorial Day weekend. As with many other families, cooking out on the grill was a regular part of our holiday weekend for a lot of years, and the music from the eight-tracks kept me entertained as I manned the grill on our patio. (Or at least it did until the Winter storm that caused the patio roof to collapse under snow and ice, crushing the grill and table — but that’s another story.)
That old ugly eight-track player got a lot of use, although we didn’t have a lot of tapes for it so ended up playing the same ones over and over. I also remember that we’d sometimes pick up used tapes at garage sales, and some of those were already pretty worn but if the music was good we’d keep our fingers crossed and play them anyway.
One that always comes to mind was an album from Kenny Rogers and The First Edition, and his biggest hit from those days was probably perfectly appropriate for play while I was grilling, given that I wasn’t always the most attentive chef. “Something’s Burning”