In the summer of 1968 I made great money every day selling ice cream from an ice cream truck I drove in suburban New Jersey towns. (In fact, that's how I paid for my junior and senior years at Guilford college.)
All the way, every day, I would listen to a Sony radio I hung from the pulled-out (and always empty) ash tray in the dashboard. My taste in music was all over many maps: classical, rock, folk, bluegrass, whatever. And at night on the way home I'd listen to WBAI/99.5fm, which was then a boundless source of anti-war sentiments, live performances, cultural everything, and fully interesting and engaging personalities.
One of those was Julius Lester, who had just published Look out, Whitey, Black Power Gon' Get Your Mama. And one night, on my way home, Julius commanded his listeners to pull over, stop their cars, open their windows, and revel in the best song ever written about its title: Respect, sung by Aretha Franklin. And the best performance as well.*
My car at the time was my parents' yellow 1966 Volvo 122s. The radio was a Blaupunkt. The speaker was under the rear window. The back of the speaker was open into the trunk of the car. So I pulled over, turned the radio up all the way, opened the trunk, sat on the back bumper and listened to the Queen of Soul pickle my own in the brine of perfection.
Because that's what it was: perfection.
News came she died today. Julius, I just found out, died in January. Two perfect souls, still in position to pickle our own in what only they could give us.
* Aretha played piano on that recording, and was backed by her sisters, now also deceased.