"Music, at its essence, is what gives us memories. And the longer a song has existed in our lives, the more memories we have of it."
"During the many crossroads of my life, literature and music have been constant sources of inspiration and motivation, providing keen insights and perspectives that reflect and imitate events in my personal story. Books have always been a mirror into my soul and have connected me to people I’ve never met and places I’ve never seen. Although there are many common themes in literature, readers interpret words and situations in a multitude of ways, usually applying the circumstances and decisions to fit their unique points of view. Books affect individuals differently, but great literature, like music, serves as a book-marker in our lives and instantly jettisons us back in time, taking us to specific places and events, reminding us of those who have vanished from our world, as well as those who have stuck around and become a part of our story—a part of our beautiful mess" (Mockingbird Moments, pg.6).
I love music--all kinds of music. From Broadway songs, to Classical, to Rock (Southern and Classic), Contemporary, Hymns and Praise Songs, and of course, Country. Music is universal, in that it connects us to people, places and events. As I think back on my life, I can clearly hear a soundtrack playing in the background, reminding me not only about special moments, but also the people who were in my life at that time. In my early years, the sounds of Simon & Garfunkel soothed my soul. Whenever I hear "Are you going to Scarborough Fair? Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme," I'm immediately back in our little house on Rosa Lane, surrounded by my family and our sweet dog, Ringo.
Over the years, my love for music has grown. As a young girl, I was a huge fan of Glen Campbell and the song, "Galveston." I loved Glen and planned on marrying him one day. That is until I discovered Donny Osmond. Oh, my goodness. I knew he sang the song, "Puppy Love" just for me. In addition to pop music, I couldn't get enough of Johnny and June, as they, along with Charley Pride, supplied the entertainment on many of our family road trips. "Ring of Fire," "Jackson," and "Kiss an Angel Good Morning," always take me to the backseat of our Gran Torino station wagon, where Greg, Mrs. Beasley, and I spent hours listening to 8 track tapes, and arguing over "who crossed the invisible line."
Of course, certain songs remind me of old boyfriends, and best friends, high school dances, homecoming, and just sitting around the Pizza Inn, tossing coins into the the juke box, hoping to get to hear the song before my ride (mom or dad) came to pick me up. Once I turned 16, I spent many hours, ridin' around in cars, going through the Sonic, the bank parking lot and back to Northview Plaza, with the windows down, wind in my hair, listening to the Commodores, Styx, REO Speedwagon, and Michael Jackson. Most songs were happy, and about love and relationships, but some were full of angst and woe. "All By Myself," truly seemed to be an anthem best not played after a break-up. And what girl didn't secretly pray that Janis Ian's song, "At Seventeen" wasn't to be her destiny?
As I look back over my life, I hear music blasting out across Camp Huawni during our "rest time." While in the backwoods of Shelby County, we could only get one radio station out of Shreveport, so every single radio was tuned in and the sounds of Seals and Croft, John Denver, Earth Wind and Fire, and the Starland Vocal Band singing, "Afternoon Delight" were our backdrop as we quietly talked, wrote letters and read mail from home, and enjoyed the peace and serenity of innocent summer days filled with friends and endless sunshine.
And now on Friday nights when I'm home and I hear the theme song from "Hawaii 5-0," I flash back to the Raguet Elementary school stage, and the less than stellar dance routine I performed in the Talent Show (and I use that term loosely) in front of a "filled to capacity" cafe-gym-atorium. Not one of my best moments, and to this day, I feel that since I can't give people their money back because we didn't charge admission, I at least owe everyone in attendance those few minutes of their life back!
Songs remind us of love and laughter, of quiet moments of solitude, or big moments in a crowd. Songs about rain, and hurricanes, beaches, sunshine, and mountains, remind us of special places and moments spent in our "wonderful world." There are even songs about songs: Blake Shelton's "Every Time I Hear That Song," Kenny Chesney's, "I Go Back." Brett Eldridge's "I Wanna Be That Song," and Old Dominion's "Song For Another Time."
In 1992, when my dad died, I was also expecting my youngest son. I'll never forget in the Spring after his death, I was driving down the road and the song, "Living Years" by Mike and the Mechanics came on the radio. I had never listened to the lyrics, but that day I did, and the end result was me, pulled over on the side of the road, crying uncontrollably. Never has a song spoken to me on such a personal, heart-wrenching, truthful level.
"I wasn't there that morning
When my Father passed away.
I didn't get to tell him
All the things I had to say.
I think I caught his spirit
Later that same year.
I'm sure I heard his echo
In my baby's new born tears.
I just wish I could have told him in the living years."
I am thankful for music and its power to transcend time and space. I'm thankful for the memories and emotions songs reveal, and truly believe that music is a great source for healing. Listen closely to the music, and the lyrics and understand when you hear certain songs, it's not a coincidence. It could be a reminder or a message from someone you love.
"Every heart sings a song, incomplete, until another heart whispers back. Those who wish to sing always find a song. At the touch of a lover, everyone becomes a poet."
LIFE IS A SONG...SING IT.