Some days I can’t seem to get the Safelite jingle out of my head. Safelite repairs. Between that and Allstate, it’s a wonder I can go about my daily routine. Music has always been able to transcend me somehow to a different place and time. It’s a gift. Maybe not the jingles so much but the music that congers up a happy memory or a certain time in my life.
My parents took my sister and I to see Elvis sometime in the 70’s before his untimely death. The king himself. That hunk-a-hunk-a burning love lit up the stage and left a mark on me forever. We were in Las Vegas and my folks were hell-bent on seeing Frank Sinatra. We could only see one show as the cost was great. In one of many acts of unselfishness that I became accustomed to growing up, my dad bought 4 tickets to Elvis. I’m not sure how old I was but I do remember wearing a long dress and having to take a nap during the day before showtime. Ironically, I’m back to that style of dress and Lord knows a nap wouldn’t kill me. My sister insists Elvis was already overweight and on the edge of decline. My memory is different. Sheer joy.
Moving across country at age 16 was not a lot of fun. Making friends was more challenging than I would’ve anticipated. I remember sitting with a group of kids talking about music. I blurted out that I'd seen Elvis. That wasn’t exactly perceived as cool or enviable. In fact, most of the kids thought I meant Elvis Costello as opposed to Presley. After that awkwardness I was asked on my first date in my new town. The band America was performing an outdoor concert. I’m certain the boy that asked me had no idea he was able to do exactly what Aretha had written about years before. Rescue me. I was moved by the music but even more so by the kindness.
For what seemed like an extended period of time, I had Raffi on my car radio jibbering about the wheels on the bus, this old man, five little pumpkins or that pesky teensy weensy spider. As my kids matured, so did their music. Or at least I can call it that.
I remember when my son was 11 or 12 years old and jumped up to sing karaoke at a birthday party. Being a high-spirited kid with an older sibling, he had experienced a huge variety of music. On this particular day he chose a country ditty entitled . . "Save a Horse Ride a Cowboy". My father was seated next to me and calmly tried to tell me what I was already completely aware of. "Sweetheart," he said, "there is a sexual connotation to this particular song that may not be appropriate for a young man his age." I had to break the news to him that my son's other choice was rapper 50 Cents' "Bitch Get in my Car". Riding a cowboy never sounded better.
As this summer heats up I plan to take in lots of live music. Create more memories from melodies. If you can’t get out to catch a show, put a song on your radio. And a Fishbellie in your freezer. In the words of Brad Paisley, Turn it on. Turn it up. Sing along.