Heeeeere’s Danny!

[Dear friends: Completely in the Dark will be taking a brief hiatus next week, returning with a new slate of posts on Saturday, Sept. 10. Thanks for stopping by!]

“Summer has just ended. Today was the first day of school. And in this letter to you, I hope to summerize the summer which has just ended. It ended with a wimper and started with a bang. Because on the last day of school I had a hassel with the kids around here and on the first day things went slow. I spent a lot of time with Danny this summer. We both said we should keep in touch and maybe, belive it or not, all this could become a book.” —August 1974

Things could be a real bummer, man.

Like, being 16 and having to work during the summer holiday.

And remembering you used to use terms like, “It was a real bummer.”

Thursday, June 3, 1976, was the last day of school.

My neighborhood buddy Dan Rogers and I were gearing up for the big Paul McCartney and Wings concert the next evening at the St. Paul Civic Center. In fact, Dan drove us to school that morning, and I rode home with him afterward in his family’s green Chevy station wagon. It reeked of his dad’s cigarettes, since Dan often drove his dad, John, up to Keaveny’s Drugs to buy smokes and then drop him off at Jimmie’s Lounge.

Since Dan had gotten me the busboy gig at the Lafayette Club, we often carpooled to a shared shift. That Thursday night was no exception; we worked two small parties, but chaos ensued when the dishwasher broke down and Chef Dan and the dishwashers dealt with dirty plates, silverware and glasses.

Eventually we punched out at 12:30 a.m.

The upside of working was having money: money for a cherry Mr. Misty or Peanut Buster Parfait at the Dairy Queen, record albums at Third Stone Music, clothes and fun stuff from Ridgedale mall—and tickets to concerts like Wings.

It was a triumphant beginning to the summer of 1976: my first-ever look at a former Beatle, since Dan brought his binoculars and we were able to drink in McCartney mugging for the crowd while playing “Venus and Mars” or “Band on the Run.” No doubt. Venus and Mars were all right that night.

Two nights before the show, Dan slept outside in his big blue tent, one of the many things he bought with his paycheck, along with a portable black and white TV from a farm supply store in St. Bonifacius.

One time I brought down my sleeping bag and we hung out in the tent. He’d strung an extension cord from the dockside streetlight plug to the tent so we could watch The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, munch on Doo-Dads, and sip bottles of Orange Crush.

Just picture it: water lapping at the dock, green grass on the lawn, and a blue nylon tent glowing like a gigantic firefly, spilling out laughter and the sound of Tommy Newsom and the NBC Orchestra into the early summer night.

~ by completelyinthedark on August 28, 2011.

3 Responses to “Heeeeere’s Danny!”

  1. Enjoyed the reminiscing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. thanks. Had that tent incident in the back of my mind for a while now. Seemed fitting to trot it out at summer’s end over 30 yrs. later 🙂


  3. Reblogged this on Completely in the Dark and commented:

    I’m grateful to the generosity of my old friend Dan this past week, so celebrating with this piece from 5 years ago. New posts to follow in 2017! Cheers, Mike


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