In late-1989 I turned nine years old. Around the same time, Aerosmith released an album titled “Pump.” I loved the album because of the old trucks on the album cover, but I also enjoyed it because my father, forever a long-haired rock-type dude, loved listening to the album… repeatedly.
My family took week-long vacations in upstate Michigan when I was an adolescent, the trips were, in essence, a reclamation of my mother’s youth. During the summer of 1990, on our eight-hour long drive to the family spot, my father made us listen to Pump throughout the entire drive.
It was our second afternoon on vacation when we visited a picnic area along Lake Michigan. The water was murky blue and the air pleasantly crisp, I was wearing a hooded sweatshirt to avoid the windswept chill. While parked on a bench, I was staring up at the gulls. Watching birds was one of the things I remember most about being young, something I picked up from my grandfather… an ornithologist. I had honed in on one of the gulls when it swooped down and snagged a hamburger bun from a neighboring picnic table. The family (occupying the table at the time of the theft) started to freak out, covering their heads like an Alfred Hitchcock movie. Sitting there, silently watching the event unfold, I leaned over to mother and in a near-whisper sang…
“…Janie’s got a bun
Janie’s got a bun
Her whole world’s come undone
From lookin’ straight at the sun…”
[Lyrics altered and borrowed, without consent. Image borrowed without consent. I’m not too worried about the repercussions.]