A couple weeks ago at work, we published an "In Focus" section in the newsweekly about 1968 and what it meant to the country.
The planning for that section involved several meetings, which I did not have to attend, but the fallout from the meetings was unavoidable, and talked about in OTHER meetings, which DID include those of 1968 vintage.
Because during one of the meetings, the observation was made that NOT ONE PERSON IN THE MEETING HAD BEEN ALIVE IN 1968.
Not. One. Person.
Now, I was 12 for most of that year, but I was alive. Even if I were more concerned about if the Monkees had a new record out than if Cleveland were burning.
So, how do we get from the Summer of Love to Big Long Lake, Indiana, on a Saturday night in 2008? Come along down the long and winding road.
August and the end of summer lake season is staring everyone down, and Yankee Park at Big Long is having a dance in the community pole barn/boat storage barn.
Bring your own whatever, popcorn is free, the band is loud, and the dress is lake casual.
The band is called The Answer and it's a couple of young women and three or four guys (I'm sitting in the back and can't see everyone), and if the some of the members are not so old, some are not so young (like, they may have been alive in 1968).
There's a lot of dancing and talking and laughter and little kids playing air guitar. And the dancers include everyone from the little kids, to teenagers in flip flops, to their parents and grandparents. Everybody comes to the lake.
And the band is not bad--both young women could put quite a few American Idol contestants to shame, for they have pipes that threaten to blow the top off the pole barn. The cover of Love Shack gets everyone up and dancing and singing along. The guy singer is less strong, but when the band swings into Billy Jean, everyone stays on their feet and tries to moonwalk and sings along, again.
Same for Margaritaville and You Look Wonderful Tonight and I Want to Hold Your Hand. And Man, I Feel Like a Woman. Quite a trip though American pop music, here in the pole barn tonight.
Before we get pulled in the dancing mosh, I've take a few minutes to observe and here's what I think:
This never could have happened in 1968.
For on the dance floor, the generations are dancing together, to the same songs, singing the same words, with the same smiles. The grandparents sing along with Billy Jean, and the little girls are holding hands as they sing along with the Beatles.
The generation gap has disappeared, here before my baby-boomer eyes.
My parents, in 1968, thought even the Monkees were so much noise, as they indulgently bought us the newest album. It was Mitch Miller for them. And big band. They don't know the words to "I'm a Believer."
Thanks to remixes, everyone in this room could sing along to that one.
It's not long until we leave our chairs to join the dancers, as the band swings into Smooth, and everyone seems to know the words to that, too. I know I do. I was listening to Santana in ... wow, he's been around awhile.
I really, really, don't miss the generation gap at all, although I think I shocked a young woman the other day when I knew who T-Pain was.
"This life ain't good enough
"I would give my world to lift you up
"I could change my life
"To better suit your mood
"Because your so smooth...."