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WOLF: No floating in the pool or long drives, missing my summer soundtrack

COLUMN: Music has a unique way of transporting us through time
Floating in the pool and listening to music go hand in hand (or foot). (Philip Wolf photo)

‘Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone)’ - Cinderella

It’s easy to take things for granted. I’ve been guilty of this many times and will surely be guilty of it many more.

But sometimes, the wise philosophizing of Cinderella (the hair band, not the Disney legend) rings more true than others.

For me, I’ve recently been missing two things I indeed took for granted.

Nothing earth-shattering or especially poignant - but danged if I don’t genuinely miss them.

Those two things? Floating in the pool and driving long distances.

I know, I know. Before you drown me in your sympathy since I’m so hard done by, allow me an explanation.

It all comes down to music.

Like many of you, I love music. Always have. It is 100 per cent my biggest source of stress relief. In the summer, it has long provided my No. 1 way to recharge my batteries while on vacation.

Allow me to explain further.

While of course, I can listen to music most anytime I want. I’ve progressed neatly over the years - from deftly wedging the little yellow plastic thingies (I was today years old when I found out they’re known as ‘spiders’) in my old 45 records, to my ungainly Walkman and straight on through to having four zillion songs on my phone.

Side note: I wonder if Columbia House has figured out 42 people didn’t live at our house back in the day?

I deftly signed up our pets and anyone else I could think of to get the first 12 cassettes for a penny.

READ MORE: WOLF: Loss of a treasured family pet is never easy for anyone

But while it is always available, the real joy of that music, the real relaxation, the real Zen, the real joy – that comes in two ways.

1. Sitting on a floatie in the pool (someone has to pass me the phone, since I’m so greased up with sunscreen I usually fall in a few times before I settle in), then baking in the sun, toes in the water, as the tunes whisk me away.

2. Driving. Has to be some highway or backroad distance involved, since the intense stop-and-start concentration required by heavy traffic kills the vibe.

For several months, I’ve been recovering following surgery and still sport a glacially slow-healing wound that limits a lot of the things I’ve taken for granted – including the seemingly innocuous getting wet and driving for any distance. Once I do heal, there’s quite a tale to tell about the entire saga, one full of amazing health-care workers and a very strained health-care system.

So for now, my two go-to music-listening methods are unavailable.

Reclining on the couch or in the bed just doesn’t cut it – that’s for old Love Boat reruns.

What I love most about those floating/driving sessions is the notion of simply being carried away. Put the phone on shuffle and random songs pop up – each transporting you to a different place in time, or sparking memories of certain people or events.

An old-school country tune comes on, and I’m a kid, sitting in the back of an RV heading across the country, trying to get the little rings on the pegs in that hand-held water game, while listening to Dad’s tunes.

A Creedence Clearwater Revival songs pops up, and I’m the same kid, coming back across the country, filling out my invisible ink trivia book and now listening to Mum’s tunes.

Guns N’ Roses? In my Camaro, T-roofs off and cruising slowly through the Victoria streets. Pearl Jam? Flanneled up in some dive bar in Vancouver. Night Ranger? A few pop in, wandering on stage in Penticton, grabbing the mic and telling everyone to make some noise. ‘Rhinestone Cowboy’? Back in elementary school, wondering why the teacher played it every morning before we started our day.

And on and on. Anything from Harry Connick Jr. to NWA. A million places, a million memories. So good.

What’s your favourite way to listen to music? Which songs instantly spur a very specific memory? I’d love to hear some of your favourite music-based memories. Send them my way.

PQB News/Vancouver Island Free Daily editor Philip Wolf can be reached at 250-905-0019 or via email at

Philip Wolf

About the Author: Philip Wolf

I’ve been involved with journalism on Vancouver Island for more than 30 years, beginning as a teenage holiday fill-in at the old Cowichan News Leader.
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