The term “Hot August Nights” makes me think of: Combining, Drag Races and Neil Diamond.
While this may sound like word association, it is also about having a great memory and that means the sights, sounds and smell of events that have taken place.
Working from music back to farming – Neil Diamond.
Who doesn’t know a Neil Diamond song!? 1972, Diamond recorded a monumental Double Live album at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles. The recording took place during one of the ten sold out shows. Decca Records, that Diamond had recorded with, had just been merged with other labels to form the MCA label. Flowing long hair and a different kind of sex appeal for his listeners at the time. I don’t think he’s ever lost them!
Neil Diamond is a must see concert. I mean it!
And, I can only imagine what “Hot August Night” dates would have been like! Remember this was ’72!
A few years ago I did see Diamond in Edmonton. A FULL band with horns, back up singers and lots of choreography. It’s polished, baby! 40 to 50 years past, it is still an event. You know all the words, Neil Rocks! The room was electric!
Nothing beats being out on a sweltering night with a few friends and ice cold beer! Enter the world of drag racing.
While I lived in Central Alberta I had the opportunity to attend a number of race events with not only the rock station I worked for, but the friends I had made from Stettler, Alberta.
Rory Christianson and his family raced the Hershey’s Reese Funny Car! And yes, in pit row we handed out Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup chocolate bars, not the FUN – SIZE either – FULL SIZE!
Trips to Edmonton and to Calgary tracks. Sometimes it was like watching paint peel, waiting to get to the start line and then hoping for the best results, which included a safe trip down the track; how about just STAYING on the track.
I don’t know whatever happened to Christianson Racing, but we sure had a great time (at least I thought so). I met a lot of great people on and off the track. We did World of Wheels and other shows back in the day! People would come by to scope out the car, meet the driver and crew. The summer was full of activities.
Attending race nights was cool. Budweiser ran bus trips with fans that afforded a whole other experience.
A night at the drags, included being located behind the burn out box in a sheltered grandstand. Where else can you get an amazing view of the cars rolling into the staging lane. Warming up the tires, the staging tree light up and then rumbling down the track. And of course all the other stuff that the crews do for the driver! The full experience of the burn out!
Nothing beats the smell of burning rubber and nitro – it will also make you sick! That heavy smell sticks with you and you feel like a real gear-head. Or it could be the ice cold beer you enjoy with your pals.
Bring ear protection, nerves of steel and get ready to hang on tight!
Now, after all of that, there is only one other thing that makes a HOT AUGUST NIGHT!
The serenity of a prairie night. Golden shafts of wheat laying in huge windrows waiting to have the combine pick-up roll all that crop up and back into the hopper.
Round after round, bushel after bushel; from the field into the bin.
Combining hasn’t really changed much except the equipment has gotten bigger and become almost self-propelled. From the time of the open concept combine that our fathers and grandfathers used to what now is deemed as high-tech with GPS systems.
The meal in the field is still apart of harvest lore. Pulling up with pots, pans and dishes waiting for the crew to come around. Time enough to stop, drop the tailgate and enjoy a home cooked meal of roast beef with potatoes, gravy and veggies. Maybe even taking out pie for dessert. (These are my memories.)
There were no cell phones, you just knew where you needed to be, you might have to drive to find the crew, but you knew which field they were likely in. Your time may have been short, but it was definitely where you caught up on the yield, what the neighbours were doing and general chit-chat.
I can smell the harvest now. The dust that seeps through your skin, into your nose and lungs. Harvest hanging in the twilight.
God Loves Hot August Nights!