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James R. Stout

Cool Change

            There are things that happen in life that are just plain weird. There’s absolutely no logical explanation for these things. I know how this is going to sound to some of you, but I promise you that I am telling the truth. This is not fiction. First, let me tell you about some early strangeness in my life. When I was about 10-years-old my father decided that I had some kind of telepathy. He was a big fan of science fiction. He said that I sure could guess well. We used to sit at the kitchen table on opposite ends. He would take a stack of my baseball cards and hide them under the table so that only he could see them. He would then take one of them and concentrate on the name of the player. My job was to see if I could figure out who’s card he was looking at. It was pretty amazing when I started getting about 50% of them correct. Another thing that started to happen to me and still happens from time to time is I’ll be driving along in the car (or in the days before I could drive, I’d be in my room at home) and a song would just pop into my head. I’d turn on the radio and there it would be playing. I remember doing this once when a friend from school was over one Friday night. We were sitting there on my bed playing a game of Stratego when I looked up and said, “KILT is playing “Bend Me Shape Me” on the radio. Well, the radio wasn’t on anywhere in the house and my friend Mark just smirked at me. I reached up and turned on my radio that was on the headboard and out blasted that song. Mark got freaked out and stood up, backed away from me, and said, “That’s just freaky, man.” I guess it was.

            So, let me tell you about what was probably the weirdest thing like this that happened. It was late in 1979 and my wife and I had recently moved to Dallas from Houston. Her parents lived near Lake Somerville and we had not been able to visit them for a while. It was time to make that drive. One of the ways that we could get there was to drive down to Temple, Texas and pick up Hwy 36. Hwy 36 would take us down to the turn-off in Lyons, Texas that would take us to their house. Not far from Rockdale, Texas on Hwy 36 we crossed a small river. I made a comment about its name being “Little River” and how much I enjoyed the music of a band that was popular at the time called “The Little River Band”. We made it to her parent’s house around 9 o’clock on that Friday night. We visited them and hung out all day on Saturday and then spent the night. Sunday morning my wife got up first and when she came in to wake me for breakfast I awoke with a start. I had been having a very realistic dream. I didn’t tell her about it right away. But later that afternoon when we were heading for home, I told her about the dream. In the dream I was visiting with two members of the Little River Band. Yea, I know that sounds kind of weird, but just wait. We were in a recording studio and I asked the lead vocalist if they had any new records coming out soon. He told me that they sure did. A new single called “Cool Change” was about to be released.

            When I told my wife about the dream, she thought it was weird, but she was kind of used to me having weird dreams. About an hour later we were approaching the river crossing on Hwy 36 over Little River and we had the radio tuned in to a station in Temple, Texas. Honest to goodness I’m not lying here. Just as we crossed the Little River the DJ came on and said, “Here’s a brand-new record by The Little River Band. It’s called “Cool Change”. Well, I nearly swerved off the road and my wife was just sitting there staring at me. Then she said, “Is this a joke?” I guess the look on my face told her that it wasn’t.

            I cannot explain how any of that happened. I only told one other person about it because I figured people would think I was lying. But it really did happen. Years later I bought a CD of the greatest hits by The Little River Band. I still get a weird feeling when I hear that song. For anyone who might be interested, the record peaked at #10 in January of 1980.

            So, you might be asking yourself why I bothered telling you about this. Well, perhaps it’s to show that there are things in this life and our existence that we simply can’t explain. We may try to figure it out and then rationalize an event to make it easier to take, but in our hearts, we know that there’s just no explanation. I don’t believe there was some grand message being transmitted or that I have some kind of 6th sense. I just accept the fact that it happened and that’s that. I see no reason to waste time trying to figure out something that I can’t figure out. There’s a familiar saying that I always used to say. I flat-out overused the saying to the point that my mother bought a wall hanging with that phrase and gave it to me when I moved into my house. The saying, “It is what it is.” The fact is, we just have to accept some things the way they are and leave it at that. Instead of fretting over why something happened or is the way it is, we need to just accept it and move on. Now that’s a cool change.

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