DREAM ON

    I have a re-occurring dream that I own a huge warehouse of old phonograph records: long-play 78s, and 45s. I don’t have a history of these things so they aren’t intimately familiar to me, although my folks had a very modest collection and I bought one or two as a teenager- - and I accidentally broke an old record at the Larson Brothers sale. I have a digital image of that somewhere.
 
   The building is a metal, a steel-framed building; its description isn’t detailed, but sometimes I’m inside of it, perusing with both wonder and frustration that I have been given- - or have acquired ‘all this’ for some reason and I don’t know what to do with it. Sometimes people inquire if I have this song or that song, but there are no names on the boxes, so we/they/me have to ponderously go through boxes of a hundred nondescript sleeves with a four-inch hole in the center that reveals the records title and artist.
 
   Some of the records are vinyl; the old ones are brittle, heavy disks, a little smaller in diameter than the 78s. My folks had a few very old ones, one whose title was “Muskrat Ramble,” a title that amused me. The folks had an old phonograph--what I’d call it- - that was half record player and half radio, and not something new in the 1960s either, this was post-World War II vintage. In fact, as a boy in the 1950s, a kid with a big imagination, the yellowish-glow given off inside the face of the radio, by what I assume were the tubes, looked like the inside of an old movie theater, the kind that had tiny lights on the side of the seats along the aisle so you could locate the row in the dark. In my imagination, the backs of the seats, their shoulders, were a soft brown-red like brushed cloth. I imagined orchestras and vocalists singing and playing on stage, behind the frequency and radio station numerals printed horizontally across the face of the radio display. I suppose this was an memory of televised shows of The Grand Ol’ Opry.
 
   The record building sits on gravel against a steep hillside; there are old houses within this ‘town’, maybe something I’ve seen in my travels or on TV in an instant; it has no name. I drive there or I’m just ‘there’ or other people, whom I don’t recognize as anyone, family or friend- -perhaps any of the hundreds of people at work- - who inquire records of me. Maybe it ties in with my workaday job in a warehouse environment, except ‘my dream job’ is not in a factory, I haven’t made an investment, yet I own all of it somehow.
 
   Part of my dream last night included a story-and-a-half house on a high-wheel trailer that is hurtling down different streets in a hilly town, toward either a lake or the oceanside. My reactions are more of “Shit, there it goes.” than “OH MY GOD! IT’S HEADING FOR THE WATER!!” I was always seeing it ahead of me, moving under its own power- -out of my control. I’m talking to someone sometimes, like a passenger in the car with me, other times I’m talking to myself, presumably.
 
   I dream a lot of urban settings; mundane streets, houses tightly packed together. Cold, sterile old neighborhoods without people in them. It’s not doomsday, its maybe a Sunday morning or just after church; sometimes I see just treetops, old elm trees likely, old memories from the backseat of the car when I was with the folks driving through the city someplace. The days are overcast winter days; no snow, no leaves on the trees, just the pause and go at stop signs, the centrifugal force of a wide turn in traffic; the speed-up, the slowdown; the rhymic thump of bias-ply rubber against pockmarked old streets with names like Euclid or Douglas or Des Moines.
 
   But my record building is not in Iowa, nor maybe not even Minnesota; its hard to define. Perhaps its a view of Montgomery, Alabama from the seat of a Greyhound bus as we heaved our way through the city in 2000. The only thing there’s no razor-wire atop chain link fences in my dream; there’s nothing threatening, nothing ominous, just daylight hours, overcast skies, gravel, cardboard brown boxes of thousands of records with no names on them, upstairs and down.

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