Saturday, July 18, 2020

Feels soooo good.

It just took me almost nine and a half minutes to drive our black VW Beetle from the Toronto train station to our house, located in the southwest corner of Toronto.
Don't let me hear you say you don't learn
stuff here at Pete's Blog&Grille.

I know how long the trip was  because I was listening to the album version of the Chuck Mangione hit "Feels So Good" and it's just shy of 10 minutes. The first oh-so-familiar horn phrases cried out from the speakers just as I was heading up the ramp on to the expressway and the last tones faded as I turned right on to our street.

Man, was it a fabulous 10 minutes.

About seven minutes in, if you were in the next lane, you could have glanced over to see me use the back of my right hand to wipe a tear off my left cheek. I was and this is no exaggeration, moved to tears.

Here's why.

Or first, maybe I'll explain the tears part.

Several members of the Carter family and I could name names cry when they see or hear emotional stuff. My dad once said I had a bladder where my tear ducts should be. He should talk, he was a crier himself.

I cry every time I watch Fiddler on the Roof. Or when I see kindergarten grads get diplomas. My eyes well up at the very first bars of "On Eagles' Wings" which they sang at my father's funeral.

One time last year, I was driving my motorcycle to work and listening to an old album called "Men of the Deeps." The Men of the Deeps is a choir comprised of coal miners from Cape Breton Island.

At one point, the choir was singing ''Rise Again" and I was thinking of my late mom Huena who was raised in Cape Breton and who introduced that choir into our lives. And then...and then... I realized I was biking immediately beside the Mount Pleasant Cemetery, where my pal Jim Cormier is buried.

Cormier, who died at 39, was also part Cape Bretoner,  a Men of the Deeps fan and in fact wrote about them for Equinox magazine. I'm still mad at him for dying so young and I'd be lying if I told you I'm not getting teary-eyed writing this.

On my bike that day, I had to lift my visor, wipe the tears and deliberately think of something else because crying while motorcycling can be very dangerous. Tears blur your vision. I think you catch my drift. (That's a miner joke. A drift is a part of a coal mine. Jim and Huena would have laughed and laughed.)
I might still have that blue hoodie somewhere.

A second ingredient for the great ride home just now?

Driving a modern VW with the stereo cranked up is like sitting inside a pair of giant quadraphonic headphones. You can hear every guitar note and feel every tone dripping from Mangione's flugelhorn. You can almost see the drummer's cymbals sparkle and you get the feeling that if you glanced in the rear view mirror you might spot Chuck Meeks, the bassist on "Feels So Good."

The fidelity and frequency response of a modern car's sound system are something we all take for granted but border on the miraculous.

"Feels So Good" was also playing on the radio. I hadn't heard it in a long time so I welcomed the piece the way you would a surprise visit from an old friend.

I hope "Feels So Good" made Chuck Mangione a lot of money because it is one of those pieces of music that made this planet a better place to live and raise a family.

That it was at its height of popularity when I was turning 20 means it was playing on Peter's soundtrack at a key time.

"Feels so Good" is an anthem to optimism.

Everything was possible. I was young; there were places to explore; big concepts to discuss, and countless people's lives to learn about. I knew that if we all got to know each other better, most of the big problems would be lessened if not licked. I was idealistic and as an aspiring writer, I felt my best work was ahead of me.

Of course, what's really weird is I still feel the very same except for the being young part.

And "Feels So Good" just keeps getting better with time.


  1. thanks. great that tune too

    1. Thanks for reading. And if I've planted one ear worm doday, my work here is done. ha