Atlanta Journal-Constitution, January 20, 1998.

By Michael Skube. 

No Time Like Present To Reflect On Yesterday

Don't stop, thinking about tomorrow
Don't stop, it'll soon be here
It'll be, better than before
Yesterday's gone, yesterday's gone

The motor was idling, the morning cold and damp, the heater not yet blowing warm air.  We were one passenger short, and if he wasn't in the car soon, we were leaving without him.  School starts at 7:50.

In the rearview mirror I caught a glimpse of her little head, bobbing to the beat.  The lips were moving in that private way of someone singing just to herself.  I could tell she knew all the words, words I knew only in fragments even way back then.

Twenty years isn't a long time, but the bridge from here to there spans two lifetimes -- both mine.

"I didn't know you liked that song, Alex," I said, hoping she'd catch the note of surprise.

She's my rock 'n' roll baby and when she's deep in thought, or just deep into a song, she's somewhere else.  I understand, and wait for whatever she has to say.

"Everybody likes it. Everybody in second grade," she eventually said, still in that other place.

"You know," I said, "when that song came out, your daddy was living in Miami and didn't even know your mother.  I'll bet you didn't know that."

"Daaad, I'm trying to listen."

I know when to shut up.

While Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie harmonized, I looked into the rearview mirror again.  I do it a lot, more than I need to.  Funny that the lines should say "Don't look back," when nothing will get you doing it like Mick Fleetwood's driving drumbeat, Buckingham's lead guitar, John McVie's bass and Stevie Nicks' and Christine McVie's vocals, the one gutsy and taunting, the other coolly sensual.

The color of the carpets came back (white shag), the arrangement of the house, the yard, people I'll never see again, the route I took to a 9-to-5 job I hated.  Hated so much I actually considered digging ditches, but instead got into journalism.  All of it came back, and it looked better from a distance.

Don't stop thinking about tomorrow, the song says, but yesterday's not as gone as you think. In the quiet hours, you think about yesterday.  Last week, I stayed up until midnight watching film clips of Fleetwood Mac, and I wasn't thinking about tomorrow.  On VH-1, members of the group recounted those strung-out years, the well-publicized splits and jealousies and betrayals.  The alcohol and the drugs.  The money.  So much of it.

"Rumours," the group's biggest album, came out in 1977.  Not only were they still young, but I was still young.  The '70s, for me, weren't strung out and they weren't anything close to Mick Fleetwood's.  I was fit as a greyhound.  But there was still a connection, emotional more than physical.

Lindsey and Stevie have split up, but you can tell he still loves her.  Christine and John have split up, too.  But they're still friends and live down the street from each other.  They trade recipes!

You can go your own way, but you do look back and you always will.

As I put the car in gear, asking a final time if everyone had papers, books, lunches, money, sweaters, I turned the volume up a little.

"Alex, someday I'll tell you and Noah why I like that song so much."

Thanks to Tracy G. for posting this to the Ledge and to Anusha for sending it to us.