Art & Photography by Courtney Krishnamurthy
Art & Photography by Courtney Krishnamurthy

I got a little change in my pocket going jingle lingle liaaanng

I got a little change in my pocket going jingle lingle ling
Want to call you on the telephone baby I give you a ring
But each time we talk I get the same old thing
Always no huggin’ no kissin’ until I get a wedding ring
My honey my baby don’t put my love upon no shelf
She said don’t give no lies and keep your hands to yourself

As I sit on the sidewalk enjoying a Carmel Machiatto and pondering where the Starbucks logo came from and if the woman on it is indeed a mermaid (that’s what she looks like to me), I hear the first twangs of the guitar from this classic Georgia Satellites song. Every time I hear this song I get a little smile on my face.

The year was 1986 — and I had somehow ended up on my way camping with my uncle and dad. Camping means you have a tent and a sleeping bag, a cooler and some matches in my world — not a campground with bathrooms and electrical outlets and RVs. We were in the white GMC van, me perched in the center on top of the engine hood/cover that was between the two front seats. We had my small boombox (one of my prized possessions as a child, along with my Mickey Mouse phone and small Sony TV) as the radio wasn’t working. I was pouting because they wouldn’t let me listen to my Thriller tape as this song came on the radio, it was the first time any of us had ever heard it. Now, despite the fact that I like this song, I would never, ever let my dad and my uncle know that — so I continued pouting and holding out to hear Thriller.

They didn’t give in to my pouting. It’s late, and it’s late fall, so it’s pretty cold in the mountains. As we’re driving up, some of the higher altitude roads have been closed because of ice. We finally find the area we want camp in, and I sit in the van, watching my dad and uncle in the headlights. They pull up the barriers at the edge of the parking lot so we can drive right down into the forest.

We set up camp and get the fire going. I’m starving, and given the fact that I’m 6 or 7 years old, I’m used to my mom’s meals while we camp. Hotdogs, steaks, baked potatoes. The only thing the guys had brought were a can of pork n’ beans. The night was getting worse from this 6 year old’s perspective. Pork n’ beans!! Uggh! We sit around the fire, listen to the radio (still not Thriller) and they probably played “Keep Your Hands to Yourself” two or three more times that night — which, of course was accompanied by me stating loudly and with complete exaggeration, “I hate this song!” (I don’t give in easily).

The next morning we pack up to leave. As we start to drive out of the parking lot the van dies. Kaput! After a few tries of the engine, my uncle and dad decide the best thing to do is jump start the van So as they each jump out the the van and start pushing, I sit on the engine hood and the Georgia Satellites come on yet again. At this point, I’ve had it. I’m upset that I’m the only one in the van and I’m still listening to this song I have to pretend to hate and I had pork n’ beans for dinner (if, in fact, I had even eaten). I start screaming at the top of my lungs, so I’m sure they hear me, “This is the worst camping trip I have ever been on!” (I’m six, really, how many did I have to compare it to?) “I will never ever ever go camping with you again!!!”

Of course, looking back on this later, I realize this was one of the best camping trips I had ever been on, just chillin’ with my dad and uncle. The Georgia Satellites’ song has a lot of other great, albeit tumultuous, memories attached to it, but every time I hear the first few notes I start thinking of the small, blonde me yelling at the top of my lungs at my dad and uncle, fists clenched, eyes closed. And I smile… 🙂 I’m such a pain in the ass.

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