I'd a '57 Chevy convertible in 1966. Paid $125. The Vietnam War: always on TV news. Fire fights, campaigns, numbers, always numbers, the war generally devoured Time magazine like a tiger atop a baby water buffalo. We sanded away the sunfade robin's egg blue, fixed-bondoed the rusted rocker panels---primed, and then spray glossed it a metal flake midnight. Older neighborhood guys were by this time flown home dead from the war. We scrubbed that canvas top as pure as the driven snow. Mothers wailed at military funerals. We'd stage drag races at all hours, attacking the night. The girls took turns anxious to drop that pink carnation and we'd roar screech wheelie-clutch off into the yellow-lined dark. Yeah a lot of those kids were reading Atlas Shrugged, the marching band practicing Wild Blue Yonder, The Marine Hymn, that Caissons Rolling Along Army Song, & Anchors Away, Anchors Away. Just boys changing-wrenching brake shoes and coils. Hundreds of batteries, fan belts and drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon close to the fire or around the manifold. Moon River was never far. The Sound of Silence one button next. Tethered behind fraying, oily nylon cords we'd grip tight toward flight experiments on water skis. Zig-zagging we'd angle/jump the wake FLYING stretched behind those heavy glass boats. Huge rumbling black/silver-lettered Evinrudes. Sandbars. Bold otters.
One of the Jacks always wore a Milwaukee Braves cap.
His older brother Tommy wrote gruff letters from China Beach until he didn't.
We became the radio.