If you've been following along with this series, you will realize by now I did not live an ordinary childhood. But the life was mine and I was used to being different. I knew my mother had her own demons to fight and she thought she was protecting her children by building walls so high no one would ever dare attempt to scale them. That's why it came as a great shock to me when she allowed Janet and I to take jobs at the local cafe the summer I turned fourteen.
My hometown had a fair balance of bars and churches but only one cafe where you could get a decent meal. I'm not sure why the owner hired us but for the first time in my life I had a little independence away from home. I lived for those weekends when I could walk down to the cafe and wait on tables with my sister.
Boy, we were good at it, too.
We learned the routine quickly and the regulars who showed up every weekend came to expect the Lavergne girls to be there to bring them beer and good Cajun food. I wasn't old enough to serve alcohol so Janet would grab six beer mugs at a time and weave her way through the tables while I followed behind with plates of crawfish boil, bowls of gumbo, or hamburgers. I loved working at that cafe and everyone knew it.
But there was one thing about working at the cafe that eclipsed everything else...
The jukebox standing in the corner of the dance floor.
I loved that jukebox. To be more exact, I loved one song they carried on that jukebox. DREAM ON by Aerosmith. The song had just come out and at my house all you would hear is Tammy Wynette, Johnny Cash, and others from the Grand Ol' Opry. My mother was a die hard OLD country music fan and Aerosmith would NEVER have been allowed to be played within those walls.
But at the cafe it was different. At the cafe I would wait to get paid just so I could put coins in the jukebox and play Aerosmith over...and over...and over...
Back then the music was on vinyl and I'm surprised I didn't warp the record. I'm also surprised the owner didn't fuss at me for playing that song so much but maybe he just didn't realize who the Aerosmith fan was?
I didn't know then what it was about the song that captured my interest but right now I'm playing the YouTube version as I write this and I realize what called to my spirit even then.
Have you ever really listened to the lyrics of DREAM ON?
(Dream On lyrics by Aerosmith)
Even back then when I was a horribly shy teenager, I had a dream of being a writer some day. It was a dream I kept secret, hidden deep within me, and here was someone calling out to the world to dream on...to dream on until ALL your dreams came true. That it was okay to laugh and even cry on your way to fulfilling your dreams. I can listen to that song now I'm older and realize Aerosmith whispered to a dreamer all those years ago and set her on a path to publication even before she fully understood where she was headed.
Thank you, Aerosmith, for lighting my way. I'm still dreaming on...