Dancing in the Car

By Judy Berman

My red Nissan Sentra lurched and shook as we sped down the highway.

No mechanical problems. Just the usual. Thru the years, my car has been more than a mode of transportation. It’s also been our personal jukebox.

My daughters and I were rocking out to the tunes on the radio – singing loud enough to be heard above the traffic noise on 690. Passing motorists pointed at us good-naturedly and laughed along with us.

We were having a grand time. Summer was just around the corner. We rolled down the window and blared Chaka Khan’s “I Feel for You.”

“I’ll make it more than just a physical dream. I wanna rock you, Chaka, baby. Cuz you make me wanna scream, Let me rock you, Rock you.” (Chaka Khan, “I Feel For You”)

Little did we realize the sexual undertones of some of the songs we were jamming to, such as Prince’s “Little Red Corvette” and “1999.”

“I was dreaming when I wrote this, so sue me if I go too fast. But life is just a party, and parties weren’t meant to last.” (Prince, “1999”)

That was tame, But I just blush now when I really listen to some of the lyrics.

The music’s appeal was its danceability and, if we could have, we would have been dancing in the car.

The Beatles’ “Rock and Roll Music” was a couple of decades older. When it came on though, my girls never missed a beat.

“That’s why I go for that rock and roll music, any old way you choose it. It’s got a back beat, you can’t blues it, any old time you use it. Gotta be rock and roll music if you want to dance with me.” (The Beatles, “Rock and Roll Music”)

No trip thru Syracuse was complete until we stopped at Columbus Bakery and bought two loaves of Italian bread. The music escorted us home to Liverpool. By that time, Danielle and Jenn demolished one of the loaves. I might have had some myself. I’m sure they recall the outcome differently.

Then, as we neared home, I’d turn the corners a tad sharp in our neighborhood so that they’d tumble against one another – first to one side of the car, then the other. More giggles. They’d squeal with delight and beg me to do it again. I gladly obliged.

Several years later, the musical tradition continued. Turning onto our street, my timing was perfect. Meatloaf’s “Paradise by the Dashboard Lights” came on. It’s about 10 minutes long, but we waited for our favorite part when Meatloaf, in the heat of passion, promised to wed his girlfriend.

“I’ll never break my promise or forget my vow … I’m praying for the end of time. It’s all that I can do. Praying for the end of time, so I can end my time with you.” (Meatloaf, “Paradise by the Dashboard Lights”)

By now, we were parked in the driveway, waiting for the next song, “Y.M.C.A.,” that closed this particular radio show.

If anyone had seen us singing and performing this disco song in our car, they would have thought we were certifiable.

This routine is just a memory chip away. When I hit rewind to replay that rock and roll music in my head, I just smile. It reminds of when Jenn and Danielle rode along with me. My girls completed my days and nights.

    What’s your favorite driving song? Comment below.

COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Judy Berman and earthrider, 2011-15. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to (Judy Berman) and (earthrider, earth-rider.com, or earthriderdotcom) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

* Photo: Prince in Paris in 2009 http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/ea/Prince.jpg        Author: Nicolas Genin, Paris, France

* Photo: Chaka Khan in concert in Santa Ynez, Calif.in 2006 http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/10/Chaka_Khan.jpg

* “Rock and Roll Music” – music video with The Beatles (1964 song) http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=Rock+and+Roll+Music+Beatles&mid=AE3F5E63286E2C4B39A5AE3F5E63286E2C4B39A5&view=detail&FORM=VIRE5

* “I Feel for You” – music video with Chaka Khan (1984 song) http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=i+feel+for+you+chaka+khan+lyrics&mid=DAC8A78F458AE54A4EFADAC8A78F458AE54A4EFA&view=detail&FORM=VIRE1

* “1999” music video with Prince (1982 song) http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=prince+1999+music+video+official&mid=64B37BACF8AEB2FD7B9B64B37BACF8AEB2FD7B9B&view=detail&FORM=VIRE3

* “YMCA” music video with the Village People (1979 song) http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=ymca+music+video&mid=077162ED5F556270EC9D077162ED5F556270EC9D&view=detail&FORM=VIRE3

  1. Why Mommy, what a wonderful story…where ever did you get the idea? I miss doing that and think every family should do that on a road trip instead of throwing a video in the portable dvd player to keep the kids quiet.

    1. OK, I confess. A little birdie, named Jenn, suggested this story idea. Thanks, Jenn. I think a lot of missed opportunities happen when the kids are engaged with a DVD instead of interacting with their parents.

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