Five Man Acoustical Jam

I was always a curious kid and still am to a degree. It’s a healthy curiosity that has questions pop into my head and sometimes they’re questions that are searching for an answer and other times they’re just looking for an audience.

We were grazing through the aisles of Super Fresh doing our weekly grocery shopping. Mom, Dad, Sister, and me dressed in our casual Church Sunday garb and on the hunt for dinners to have that week. Super Fresh was one of the few stores in our area that were open 24 hours. Come to think of it, there were only a handful of places open all night…Denny’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, Super Fresh sp,e gas stations and a pool hall that I had gone to a couple of times in the daylight with some friends. I inquired, “I wonder what these places are like in the middle of the night.”

Dad answered, “I don’t know, Pal. You want to find out?”

“Yeah, that would be cool.”

And that was the last I thought about it until a week later when Dad asked me where I would want to visit. I had forgotten about it really but the idea still intrigued me. So I rattled off the only places I knew were open 24 hours around us and we made plans to visit:

  1. Dunkin’ Donuts
  2. Pool Hall
  3. Denny’s
  4. Super Fresh

The plan wasn’t to stay up all night and visit these places. I wasn’t in college yet and my body wasn’t used to all-night sessions yet. Our alarms went off at 2 AM on Saturday morning and we headed out into the night.

Not too far from the house was Dunkin’ Donuts. There were a couple of cars in the lot as we pulled in. It was quiet inside with a couple of the regulars exchanging the occasional conversation. Dad and I just sat the bar. I ordered a hot chocolate and a Boston cream pie. I never drank hot chocolate really, but I thought this would be the right thing to have in order to fit in with the rest of the night owls. Again, not much traffic on the road as we headed to the pool hall. I think one of the only reasons Dad agreed to go there was the cleanliness and newness of the place. We played pool on occasion and weren’t pros by any stretch of the imagination, it was just something we enjoyed for a time. We were one of a couple tables in a room of about a dozen. This was back in the day when restaurants and pool halls, when you asked for a table, if wanted “Smoking or Non”. Dad and I were the only ones in the half of the room for the non-smokers. Another couple of tables were playing and then they wrapped up, leaving our table and one more. This pool hall had a neat jukebox, it was one of the first in the area that had a CD changer in it. This meant there were literally 100 albums that I would be able to choose from. But it was expensive, about $1 per selection. Dad gave me a couple of bucks to choose some music while we were filling up the hour at our table.

One of the things that Dad and I would be able to connect on, or at least enjoy together (for the most part), was music. He always seemed to take an interest in what I was listening to. Not in an overprotective manner, but a genuine interest. I can count on my right hand the number of times I turned him onto some of the music that I was listening to that he enjoyed himself. With Dad being a guitar player, Tesla’s Five Man Acoustical Jam had come out recently and thought there would be a cut or two on there that we could enjoy. I can’t remember the ones I chose, I do remember staying away from “Before My Eyes” for the excessive swearing during the crowd interactions. But that didn’t really matter because at the only other table occupied at the pool hall had broken into a fight. I can’t remember what it was about but I do know one guy was thrown out and the other didn’t want to hit him with a pool cue because he would have had to pay for it. Turns out rental pool cues are only about $25, so it may have been worth it.

Dad and I finished up at the pool hall and headed to Denny’s. This was the same Denny’s that my high school friends and I would frequent on a Friday night or day before an extended vacation. We had our booths in every section of the place. If one section was closed or full, we could go to another and feel right at home. We sat down at the bar and ordered. Can’t remember what Dad had, but I had the Grand Slam with scrambled eggs. It was getting to be about 5 AM and the sun was coming up over Route 1. It was that bright sun that driving into really sucks. I can still taste those eggs though. I don’t know what was different, maybe it was the company, or maybe the line cook used real eggs as opposed to the yolks-in-a-carton. Breakfast was pretty quick, we weren’t rushed, but they weren’t busy and the food came out pretty quickly.

At that time in my life, I had a job and had been saving a little money, not for this occasion but I was feeling a little flush with cash. The highlight of the night/morning was that I was able to treat my Dad to breakfast at Denny’s. It was partially a “Thank You” for the night and how much I had grown up (relatively, not much). Still something I look back on with fond memories.

The sun was up and we headed to our last stop…Super Fresh. There wasn’t anything super special about it being at a grocery store just before 6 AM, it was much quieter than we were used to. There were people stocking the shelves and bringing out the fresh baked goods. One cashier stood alone waiting on people wanting to check out. We grabbed some bagels to take back to the house and have later when everyone else woke up.

It was a fun night. Things were a lot quieter than I thought they would be. The world isn’t all hustle and bustle at 3 AM. Would I want to be one of the night owls sleeping during the day only to come out at night to try and be a functioning member of society? No. Would I do this again with Dad? In a heartbeat.

1.Comin' Atcha Live / Truckin'7:23
2.Heaven's Trail (No Way Out)4:41
3.The Way It Is6:31
4.We Can Work It Out2:09
6.Gettin' Better3:30
7.Before My Eyes6:06
10.Mother's Little Helper3:45
11.Modern Day Cowboy6:09
12.Love Song9:54
13.Tommy's Down Home2:04
14.Down Fo' Boogie3:20