Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Eleven Long-Haired Friends of Jesus in a Chartreuse Micro-Bus

Dear John,
 
I heard "Convoy" on the radio today. It came out in 1975, and I don't believe I'd heard it since them. I had a great time listening to it.
 
I was pondering the song's popularity. It gave voice to the general frustration with the gas crisis and the new 55-mph speed limit. But what most people our age loved about it was the joyful juxtaposition it gave us. For us protest hippie types, the most conservative portion of the population with the reddest necks around were truck drivers. They had less patience with us than anybody else, and the stereotype was thoroughly God-&-country. Whichever side of the barricades we were on, there were bound to be truckers on the other side.
 
This song shattered the barrier. It gave us truck drivers pulling off an organized protest, and doing it quite well. This time, it was the truckers up against the police and National Guard. And, just for an extra burst of delight, their convoy included eleven long-haired friends of Jesus in a chartreuse micro-bus. That's pure magic.
 
Did the song do anything to really unite the two sides? Probably not. I still listen to Dylan and the Colbert Report, and my trucker friends still listen to country and Rush Limbaugh. But at least I HAVE trucker friends, so something must have shifted. Maybe we all just grew up. Either way, this song did give us a glimpse of union against a common foe. And it helped us all laugh at ourselves a little bit. And that is never wasted.
 
Tonight I'll go to bed thinking about Rubber Duck, the Illinois National Guard, and all those hogs. And, of course, that chartreuse micro-bus. Sleep good, and have a giggle with me.
 
Adore you,
Joan.

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