Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

June 30, 2013

06/30/2013 — Lee Ward: Styx concert great, but there was a price to pay

Lee Ward
CNHI News Service

ASHLAND — When Summer Motion gets here and Styx performs, it’s unlikely that I’ll attend.

All my friends who are my age are getting geared up for the show and I like Styx, but the last time I saw them in concert, it stank. Not the band, mind you, but the rest of the experience created a stench I’ll never forget.

It was the summer of 1981 and I was working in Williamson as an intern at the local radio station and one of my male friends was working as a lifeguard at the local pool. We decided to drive my mom’s very uncool Chevy Citation to Charleston for the concert.

Continuing the theme of “very uncool,” my mother made us ham salad sandwiches and packed them in a brown paper bag.

Being of legal age but not as enlightened about drinking and driving as we should have been, we threw the sandwiches in the back seat and got a six-pack of Bud and started on our way.

In Charleston, we parked the car in a clearly marked legal parking space and went to the civic center right on time, only to learn Styx’s flight was delayed and the concert, scheduled to start at 8 p.m., likely wouldn’t begin for another two hours.

Disappointed but not daunted, we were delighted to learn that the civic center sold beer, so we indulged. What else was there to do?

As was promised, Styx arrived on stage at 10 p.m. and performed until 1 a.m., trying to make up for the delay. It was a great concert and we had a blast. We had even sobered up a bit by the time the show was over. Unfortunately, when we went to the parking area where the car was, it was gone.

Maybe we’re mistaken about where we parked, we thought, so we looked around but never found the car.

At what we thought was the height of frustration, a stranger asked if we misplaced our car and we said apparently we had.

“Nah, it just got towed,” he said.

“Why? We parked in a legal spot,” I told him.

“Yeah, but they’ll tow you anyway,” he said, explaining the opportunity the towing company saw in these concert situations. The upshot was we would need $50 and a ride to the police station. I mean, we didn’t even know where the police station was. And we only had $15 between us.

 My friend called his friend who lived in town but couldn’t get her to answer. Finally, we spent $12 on a cheap — cheap in every way — hotel and the rest on breakfast sandwiches the next morning. We got $50 from his friend, who also got us to the police station while ridiculing the situation, where officers were hard pressed to accept my claim that the Citation was mine when it was registered in the name of my dad’s business, but somehow, we convinced them to turn over the car to us.

Despite the fact the concert was outstanding, I thought everything else that had occurred was our punishment for drinking and driving. There was more to come.

The smell of beer and ham salad sandwiches that had spent the night in a hot car nearly ruined our senses of smell.

LEE WARD can be reached at lward@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2661.