Sugar Magnolia

It’s my post-Elvisfest ritual: I go back to the apartment I’m staying at and listen to the Grateful Dead’s “Sugar Magnolia”. The first time I stayed here it was on the Ipod that Chris had left to provide me with some late-night entertainment. He’s a Dead fan, which explains why the song is on the Ipod, but the ritual taps into something deeper: the last summer I went to Boy Scout camp and the three cassettes I brought with me: the Who’s “Greatest Hits”, “Best of the Doors” and “Skeletons from the Closet” by the Grateful Dead. After lights out I would put on my headphones and listen to the music on my cheap Walkman clone, the warbly sounds lulling me off to sleep before another day of archery and campfires.

Tomorrow is another day of Elvisfest, however. Before the show Chris and I will drive around and visit guitar stores, and I’ll be tempted to spend the money I made the night before. But I don’t. I need it for other things, like a new car. The near-horizontal rain that pounded the area that afternoon has seeped under the hood, soaking the wiring and leaving the ancient Volvo inoperable. Hopefully it will dry out in time for me to return to Greensboro the following day. Sunshine daydream, indeed.

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