If you grew up in the 1970s like I did, you can finish the above verse as the song automatically pops into your head. I have to say that it has been bouncing around inside my head since I told my brother, Gene who lives in Scottsdale, that I was coming over last week on I-40. He immediately let me know I would be passing through Winslow, and he didn’t have to tell me why that was important, the song jumped immediately into my head.
I had to stop in Winslow. I had to find the corner. I had to ask two different people where it was.
“Excuse me, where is the corner?”
I was really surprised at their response. Come on! This is Winslow. Winslow is only famous for one reason: the corner. The corner in which Jackson Browne was standing in which he had a fine sight to see. It was a girl, and this is the part where Jackson got religion, my Lord, in a flatbed Ford and she’s slowing down to take a look at me! Come on, baby! Don’t say maybe! I gotta know if your sweet love is going to save me!
Jackson knew he needed saving, but I’m not sure he was thinking the same type of salvation that we Christians think of. After all, his savior was that girl, in the flatbed Ford. She is probably old and grey by now, like the rest of us who were singing to song in the 1970s. Not much salvation there.
But back to the corner. I had to tell the people I was looking for THE corner in Winslow, AZ.
The second man I asked was able to tell me that I was close and needed to drive one block over, and five blocks downtown to find it. He had actually been there when he first moved to Winslow 18 months ago. The first man I asked, well, let’s just say his English wasn’t so good, and my Spanish was even worse.
Back to the corner.
I immediately headed downtown like any good tourist in search of my momentary Mecca of adventure. I was on a pilgrimage so to speak. Not a religious one. But one that if I wasn’t a pastor, just might become so. Let’s just face, I was taking a few moments out of my 12-hour drive for some goofy fun and wanted to find THE corner.
I did. I jumped out of my car with camera in hand and took it all in. There was the statue of … I think Jackson Browne. Funny thing is that no one was sure who the statue was for. We, the other goofy tourists, looked for a nameplate or something to indicate who the statue was, but couldn’t find anything. It’s like the people who made the corner into a visitors attraction were more interested in putting their names up than the name of the guys who made their corner famous. Odd. There were names every where. Names on the bricks, names on the corner, names on plagues telling us who had the idea for the corner, who gave money for the funding of the corner. There was even one sign that let us know the good people of Hampton Hotels declared the corner a “must see.” I’m sure they made that declaration for small contribution.
There was even a sign telling us the corner was dedicated on September 11, 1999. That was two years before the WTC bombings, so I’m sure it has nothing to do with that. But there was nothing about the people who wrote the song or sang it. We know it was Jackson Browne, along with Glenn Fry and Don Henley. But they apparently didn’t contribute any money to the corner. They just sang about it, so there names were left off of it. Really odd.
There was also a refurbished, red, flatbed Ford along with plenty of Route 66 signs. And the song, it could be heard everywhere! The entire corner was drenched with the sounds of The Eagles singing Take It Easy. (That’s the actual name of the song for those of you who missed out on The Eagles).
I have to confess that I was giddy with joy. What a way to break up the long, long monotonous drive to Scottsdale. It was great. I got to touch a bit of Top 40 history and see a town that I would never have stopped in had there not been a song about one of its corners. As far as the experience goes, the only way it could have been better is if there was a hamburger joint close by. I was getting hungry. But alas, the need for a hamburger leads us to my next adventure which I will write about in a couple of days.
Here is the picture of me and my buddy: Anonymous Bronze Statue Man! He is holding a bronze guitar as well. Look in the picture above and you can see it. I really do think it’s Jackson Browne, but it could be the organizer’s son for all we know.