Woo-Woo #3, part one

It was the last leg of the long drive from Cincinnati, Ohio, to Whitewater, Michigan. On the interstates, I amused myself by calculating the car-to-truck ratio.

Google maps became unhappy with me on US-12/WI-67. It feared I would turn off onto the dry dirt of a farm field and reminded me, at one-mile intervals, to stay on the road. “Stay on US-12 for thirteen miles.” “Stay on US-12 for twelve miles.” It was tedious, and I was tired.

Maybe Google would chill out if it had a playlist to compete with. Maybe it wouldn’t interrupt until there was a reason to turn.

Every Fall, I teach a half-semester class on Inclusion & Diversity. Each class has a class playlist. During the first class, every student submits a song by an artist they like and has until the second class to change their mind. For the third class, they come into the room hearing their choices. I can always tell whose song is playing because their eyes light up. I don’t even have to check the enlarged Song-Artist-Student spreadsheet projected on the screen.

On US-12, I put on the playlist from MGMT8084-Fall22. It has songs by Justin Bieber and Burna Boy, Jason Aldean and Amar Arshi. The songs played as farm fields whizzed by, and Google stayed quiet. iTunes played On To The Next One by Jay-Z, Hold On by Alabama Shakes, and Don’t Give Up on Me by Fridayy.

Google interrupted to tell me to turn onto Cold Springs Road. As I did, Second Chance by Shinedown came on. This song was not on the Fall22 playlist. I know this because if any student had selected it, I would have remembered.

Trent kept an old radio in his barn and did the same with the “lil’ barn” in Newaygo. The radio stayed on 24 hours a day, tuned to classic rock. Trent said it was better at deterring thieves than an alarm system.

After he died in September 2008, Justin and Jeremy—the teenage brothers Trent hired to do outdoor work—must have changed the radio to a station that played current pop/rock.  Almost every time I walked into the barn, from September to grieve through April for the garage sale, Second Chance was playing. It became sort of “our song” in reverse.

So, on Cold Springs Road in Whitewater, Wisconsin, Second Chance got my attention. Maybe Trent was trying to talk to me. That would be okay, because there was something I wanted to talk with him about.

Chewing the Cud of Good

closeup of ruffled white peony petals with a small green flower

Grateful for wise advisors.



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