Stude Park is one of Houston’s gems that hosts Mac Whitney’s 1981 “Houston” sculpture; a piece that stands 50′ tall by 37′ wide. It is a great red iron landmark that can be seen from I-10 as you pass it overlooking White Oak Bayou. Growing up watching Houston’s Public Broadcasting System (PBS, or Channel 8 to Houstonians), I have witnessed many a promotional footage that features Whitney’s work in Stude Park on a sunny day as a hallmark of Houston’s lush beauty and recreational landscape pockets. The sculpture is the closest thing that I can think of to Houston having our own “Clifford The Big Red Dog”; the structure sits, stays, and is always a bright spot that appears to have awaited your return.
The track this week is one that ultimately and undoubtedly leaves me wanting more than the “up to a minute” sample Instagram allows. Durand Jones and The Indications sweetly and soulfully play an ode to “Cruisin’ To The Park”, a time held tradition that might even have a few connotations on the single of the same name. Yet, I chose this song because it reminds me to slow down to a cruise of a pace and enjoy the ride every now and again.
The single was released in anticipation of 2019’s “American Love Call” as a special 45 that ultimately was a coveted pressing. “Cruisin’ To The Park” wasn’t included on “American Love Call” and feels like an independent bridge between 2018’s self titled LP. I am fairly new to tuning into the band, but am smitten with the work I have taken the time to consume. I respect songwriting that is clean yet stricken with emotion in a way that soul uniquely personifies.
The past couple of/few weeks of social distancing and self quarantining have been a challenge for many of us. I’ll spare some of the details in favor of just saying that the time has created an opportunity to catalogue things we have gained as well as lost. Hopefully, with a spirit of gratitude we can approach a new sense of normalcy closer to that which we experienced before the reports of any virus. And, while I am just as impatient as many of you, I can commit to taking the necessary steps to flatten the curve.
While the photo at Stude Park was snapped well before the quarantine, it is something that I hope remains one of the things that reminds you of great times, taking it easy, taking a cruise and being a bit carefree. That sounds like something I could use.
Take care of yourselves, look out for one another and stand tall as we figure this all out together. Soon enough we can all just cruise.