Perhaps if I started with the dream: I had chosen a small crawlspace for my path to the back porch where the soda was stored. I had even gone so far as to open the latch to the door when my father stopped me. He said that if I were to go back there I might disturb the crash site. The plane crash site. It was a disturbing enough moment, since it was my father warning me away from the wreckage of someone else's downed aircraft, or maybe it was his. It was a dream, after all.
When I awoke, I was suddenly reminded of a song. As far as I know, I only heard it once on the clock radio that sat beside my bed in my room at my parent's house. Two round dials, one for tuning and one to tell the time. There was a knob just below the clock face that you could twist to the right to get an hour of radio as you drifted off to sleep. I did this most every night, falling to sleep to the hits on KIMN. On one particular night, I heard a song that made it hard for me to sleep. Impossible. It described a bloody plane crash in some detail, and afterward I called for my father, whose bedroom was just down the hall. He came directly, the light from the hallway following him in. He sat on the edge of my bed and listened patiently as I described my torment. He seemed a little skeptical, but stayed and listened to another three or four songs. "They're all about three minutes long," he consoled me. "You'll probably be asleep in just a few more."
So he sat there, and listened as the sounds of seventies AM radio filled the dark room. Sure enough, somewhere in there I dropped off, just like he said I would. The next night, I stared at that knob a long time before giving it a twist. I didn't know what might come out.
I have spent a good portion of my life since laying awake. I never heard that song again, but it was stuck somewhere deep in my cerebral cortex. I tried to describe it to a number of different acquaintances, who were able to remember plenty of teen tragedy songs, but none that featured airplanes.
The morning after my crawlspace dream, I asked the only person who knows everything: Al Gore. After a few minutes of pointed searching, I came up with "DOA" by Bloodrock. It includes lyrics about blood flowing and hitting something in the air. Speaking of hit, the song made it all the way to number thirty-six back in 1971, which explains how it found its way onto my radio that dark and stormy night. Twenty-five years later my father died in a plane crash. It was nice of him to comfort me way back when, and to show back up now to help me unravel this knot of insomnia.