Growing up I loved the Supremes. We used to pretend we were the girls in my basement. We did listen to the music from Woodstock and I loved the whole hippie idea, but really weren’t interested in the other things associated with the hippie generation. Late in high school and early in college there was really just one man for me, that would be my man, James Taylor. I would study his lyrics and would convince anyone I know that played guitar to play, Fire and Rain or You’ve Got a Friend. I expanded eventually to Prine, Dylan and Post. The folk musicians were somewhat associated with ‘country music’…but back then country music just seemed corny…something my dad would definitely make fun of, though he didn’t like that crazy hippie music either.
I gave birth to a daughter…she really didn’t have any use for the music of her generation until the Backstreet Boys…she was much more interested in playing basketball, running cross-country and of course, her many fairy tale dreams.
My son, on the other hand, somehow heard Garth Brooks singing Thunder Rolls when he was six. He actually wrote him a letter telling him how much he loved that particular song. I also liked Garth’s lyrics and used them with my seventh graders to teach poetry. My son became an avid, lifelong lover of music and playing his base. His love of country waned somewhat in favor of jazz.
Emily who shared a mutual love of James and I, didn’t really get hooked on country until the Dixie Chicks came along. I love country music now for one very big reason. It tells a story. My favorite and my daughter’s ultimate favorite was, Wide Open Spaces. When we said our final goodbyes when she was starting college, I got in the car and immediately turned on the radio. It was playing this very song, at the exact right moment. The tears were streaming. I think I cried four hours back to Chicago. Here are a few of the lines that caused these emotions:
to find a dream and a life of their own (I knew life as I knew it would never quite be the same with my daughter)
it takes the shape of a place out west, but what it holds for her she hasn’t guessed yet (she actually went north to college, however, prophetic in nature, she met her husband on a raft trip in Wyoming eight years later)
she needs wide open spaces, room to make her big mistakes (I didn’t want her to experience these mistakes, but on the other hand, I believe in order to grow and learn, mistakes have to happen….and they really did)
mom stares out the window and says, “I’m leaving my girl.” She says, “It didn’t seem like that long ago, when she stood there and let her own folks know” (This is the part where I really broke down because…those years in the middle…raising my family, were such a loving blur to me).
So here I sit, a granny at the Grand ‘Ole Opry, 2013. One of Emily’s favorite new bands is about to come on stage and she is just a little jealous that I’m here and she isn’t. It is a band from Tennessee and they are about to play the very ballad that John (Emily’s husband) sang around the campfire on the first night they met, out west. Two songs and two people collided on that trip. John asked her to hold his music and to shine her headlamp on the pages of the Rock Me that night and it pretty much was love…just like a good old country song. Their story, just like many of ours, are this amazing, God ordained story.
You might be curious about the song, if you have been listening to country music the last few weeks Darius Rucker has put it on the charts. Dylan wrote the refrain, many years ago and the Old Crow Medicine Show wrote the lyrics in the middle now quite a few years ago. I’m sitting at the Opry listening to Old Crow waiting and knowing they’ll play Emily and John’s song, and of course they did. It was a magical moment.
I finally got my cowboy boots on my trip to Nashville and finally got my 31st post.
Thank all of you for your comments and love the last few weeks.
PS ‘cuz I like them, and I hope y’all decide to stick around some and continue slicing up some great pie, oops- stories every Tuesday. I have enjoyed reading and getting to know your lives… Happy Easter…He has risen….He has risen indeed!