I was almost 13 when we moved from New Jersey to Georgia.
One of the things that we’d do occasionally after the move was go to this old roller skating rink that I think was called the “Dixie”.
It seemed like a lot of things were called “the Dixie”.
In the South…in 1973…it was not uncommon to see places with a reference to “Dixie”.
This old rink (roller skating is “rink”, right…that’s not just ice skating?) had a wooden floor and cinder block walls around the outer edges of the skating area.
It might have had a mirror ball, but I don’t really remember that part.
You could still smoke inside public buildings, and I think it was where I saw kids a little older than me smoking for the first time.
All these details are kind of irrelevant…it’s not the real point of this.
The real point is the music.
Blaring, blasting, bad sound system crackling….music.
It was cool. It was the epitome of what I imagined the rebel life to be…loud music, dim lights, kids smoking around the outer part of the rink.
There was something dangerous feeling about that seedy little rink.
That was the first place I heard this song…
So from now until the end of time, that’s going to be a skating rink song.
There were dudes with their own skates who could do tricks…skating around with a pre-disco set of moves that were pretty impressive to a young kid.
Here’s another song that I remember from the rink…
Check it out…that’s Sheila E. playing the drums behind Edgar Winter.
There weren’t a whole lot of places that were cooler and more dangerous feeling that “the parents” let a bunch of us neighborhood kids go to.
There’s a lot more songs that I remember from the rink…maybe some Bachman Turner Overdrive, maybe “the Night Chicago Died”, who was that? Bo Donaldson? Nah….Paper Lace….maybe some Motown at the Dixie?
Grand Funk! I know there was some rocking Grand Funk in there blowing a 12-year-old mind.
Skating isn’t a passion of mine…not roller skating, at least.
If I could “ice dance”…now that would be a passion of mine. Just the costumes would be enough to be passionate about.
Roller skating was an interest…it was never a passion.
But this music! This music was perfect for the skating rink.
If I hear “Little Willy” now…I can see those worn wooden boards and hear the sound of a bunch of young feet with clay wheeled skates going around and around…growing up and going nowhere.
Round and round at the Dixie Rink.
“Try telling everybody but…oh no…Little Willy, Willy won’t…go home.”