You might recall the trip to the Soviet Union. This is related. Because this was the other end of the trip.
Every story has a beginning, a middle, and an end. The middle of my trip to the Soviet Union — actually being in the Soviet Union — is an interesting story, to be sure, but it’s affect on the Soundtrack Of My Life is … oddly minimal. I listened extensively to Prince’s Batman album rather extensively, but it didn’t sink in the same way as the song at the end: Take Me Home.
The trip home to Canada was made for movies: picturesque sidetrack through Helsinki and reverse culture shock as we dug ourselves out from the Soviet experience, a long flight to New York, having to go from JFK to Laguardia during rush hour, running through an airport to make a flight that we were about to miss, only to be delayed on departure and then held up on a very long line to take off.
This is the point in the movie — just after all that excitement is done and the travellers are on their last leg before home — when you hear the song that “ends” the action. That song was different for everyone (who thought about having a song, anyway), as was made clear when we took a night train from Moscow to Kiev (several demanded Ozzy Osbourne’s Crazy Train, while I was very much for The Traveling Wilbury’s End Of The Line).
I didn’t listen to Take Me Home while on the plane. I didn’t bring that many tapes with me. But I had it memorized. It played it over and over, looking at my travel companions, building my mental movie scene, panning over everyone, taking the momentary montage of things we’d done. In the years that would follow, the music to the scene changed, using a live version of Take Me Home from the Serious Hits … Live! album. Wheels down corresponds with the last “…take me home”.
I only vaguely remember seeing my parents as I exited customs with my bag. I was pretty tired at that point, I’d been up for 30-some hours, I’d recounted the trip a dozen times in my head. I wanted to go home, to my own bed.
To be clear: I was happy to be home and sad that it was over. But the ice was also broken — the need to travel was born and would always be there, haunting me when I became too idle, begging me to see something new and do something different. And with every trip, every adventure, there was the end, coming with the same song: Take Me Home, for I need the people and the places that root me, so I may grow.