Artist: Neil Diamond; Song: Sweet Caroline ; Album: Hot August Night ; Year: 1972 ; Cruising the Convertible Triumph TR6 ; LOCATION: Along Route 55 Ulster County , Ellenville in Catskills, NY ; YEAR: recalled 1978
It was 88 degrees, sun beating down on the wine coloured cloth seats of the burgundy Triumph TR6 convertible my uncle W owned. We were speeding along twists and turns in Ulster County New York all day long. Him and second wife, L, absolutely adored cruising especially with music playing on a brand new cassette deck. This particular day the family owned business, the bar, grandpa and grandma were pleased, he was very much in love profits were up, and his two young nieces were up for the summer.
He got to assume the roles of a chauffer, uncle, teacher, disciplinarian as best he could; and above all be the best entertainer of all. I recognized hedonism and it teetered dangerously between double yellow lines, passing zones, falling rock zones and farm animals in the road. But even all the twists and turns of the interstate roadway, were no match for his driving skill and show-off personality characteristic. I found it impressive, my aunt found it sexy, my mother saw it sometimes dangerous. Route 55 on a dry sunny summer day was a very pleasant road trip indeed and it srirs a great story to entertain my readers by.
The convertible was the greatest car I ever was driven around in. It was shiny, new, sparkly, smelled great, fast and with all the chrome and bright burgundy, along a highway it would be a sizzling fast sparkle go by. I loved how low it was designed to hug the road, so close to the ground and catching all the wind, you felt like you were windsailing.
Whenever we got up to Catskill mountain park and the surrounding areas we almost stopped and fished those many small & mid-size inland lakes that serve as beautiful landscape, but fishing was grandpas thing. You do have to slow down to look at them, so we did not see too many of them clearly. Reckless a little but always maneuvering his best through the meandering black ribbon which snaked its way through lush landscape of brilliant shades of green and brown.
The speakers on both sides of the inner door panels, were exuberant with a voice that echoed love for some beautiful woman named Caroline. I let my very long blonde hair get swept by the wind and I resembled a very long-haired golden retriever from the back of the vehicle. My name is not ‘caroline’ but the song was for me. All anyone saw was hair. I was ‘transported via sounds’ to a different place as the song filled my mind with ‘spring becoming summer’ and staying so long and fast. The curvaceous mountain roadway, lip-locked with the performer and “good times” never did feel the same, nor the intensity.
The song was not inreflection of the newest marriage my uncle embarked on. He swelled with impish desire, of his ‘sweet Caroline’, not his wife’s name but one in the same, a good memory, before the arguments, before the drinking and before life got in the way of their dreaming, singing along on a country road with family members was his very own temporary bliss.