Sunday, March 4, 2012

Gavin Luck's Suzuki Samurai (The Happiness Challenge Day 4)

Today's post is brought to you by the year 1989 and the songs of R.E.M.'s Green album.
On March 25, 1989, R.E.M. performed at Hirsch Coliseum in Shreveport, Louisiana. The Indigo Girls were the opening act.

That afternoon, a group of us were hanging out at Gavin Luck's house. We had the radio on and we heard a local DJ interviewing two members of R.E.M. Right that minute, we jumped into Gavin's blue Suzuki Samurai and Gavin sped us down I-20 West to the radio station.

We waited outside in the parking lot until Michael Mills and one of the other band members came out. Michael Stipe wasn't there, unfortunately. My friend Michael Lamendola and I got autographs. Michael Mills signed one of my Keds. I'm pretty sure my mom still has that particular pair of tennis shoes at her house in Natchitoches.  She used to wear them when she was gardening.

That night, we went to the concert and did a lot of screaming and jumping up and down. I remember that Todd Blanchard and Spencer Lee stood with us and we girls were very excited about this because Todd and Spencer were two years older and popular and extremely cute. I have a vivid memory of Amy Wynn knowing every single word to every single song.

Thinking about this particular day, I was flooded with memories of all the good times we had riding around in Gavin's Samurai.

It was like a tin can on wheels.

Misha, me, and Michael, 2010
One Saturday, Gavin, Misha, Britten, and I drove from Shreveport to Six Flags in Dallas. We rode with the top down and Misha and I tucked ourselves down onto the floorboard behind the front seats because it was freezing and the wind was relentless. When 18-wheelers passed us, it felt like that Samurai was going to bounce right off the highway like a discarded soda can.

Some of the memories blend together and I just have snapshots in my mind of us riding to Ron's house, riding to my house, riding to Kip's house, riding back to Gavin's house, hanging out in Gavin's bedroom and laughing a lot.

Me and Kip at the lake, 1989
I remember Kip making some joke that basically changed the way I thought forever. I cannot hear the word "dictator" without thinking about Kip saying, "Penis-potato."

One night, Ron and Gavin and I were hanging out at my house and my mom let them spend the night so we could keep talking and laughing into the wee hours. We basically took over the living room that night. I think the next morning we got up and headed straight out to the Samurai so we could go to Gavin's house. I'm not certain but I think maybe he got his grandmother to cook breakfast for us.

I remember every time someone came up with a new plan for something to do, I'd say, "Ooh, yes! Let's!"

"Let's" was totally my word then.

Let's go! Let's ride out to the lake! Let's laugh! Let's have fun! Let's take a ride in the Suzuki Samurai!

If someone pulled up in my driveway now, 22 years later, in a blue Suzuki Samurai, I'd say "Let's!" all over again. Hell yes, I would.

Related posts:
The Happiness Challenge
Beautiful Baby (The Happiness Challenge Day 1)
The Hamster Bite (The Happiness Challenge Day 2)
The Todd Childs Post (The Happiness Challenge Day 3)

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