Today, I’m thankful for the Music.
Not just any old music, but THE music. You know what I mean. The music that you can identify after hearing only a few notes. The music that makes your heart flutter; lulls you through the valleys of life; pushes you to the peaks and morphs you there whenever the melody floats into your consciousness.
My Dad and Mom did a phenomenal job of making sure I received a well-rounded musical education. Dad LOVED music. He played, listened, sang and studied. Sometimes I thought my Dad’s relationship with music was scientific. I know that’s just what he let me see. There’s a photograph of my Dad that has, for most of its existence, lived in the bottom of a Winchester ammo box. The setting appears to be a swanky red velvet stage. There is a man in the foreground with long hair sweeping down over his face past his collar bones. He has on cream-colored, flared pants and appears to be engrossed in an other-worldly experience with the guitar hanging from his shoulder. That’s my Dad. That photograph reminds me that my Dad’s relationship with music was anything but scientific.
My Mom did a lot of appreciating. Her relationship with music looks nothing like my Dad’s, but is no less intense. There was a time, after the divorces of both my mom and my Aunt Judi, where they joined forces and lived together. This meant that I had two moms and a sister (my cousin Abby). All those mornings driving to Nanny’s house, our daycare, were spent singing along to Richard Marx, REO Speedwagon or Journey while listening to WINK 94.1. During the holiday season, Mom and Judi would sing, at the top of their lungs, O Holy Night. Even now, when I hear that song, I’m drawn back to those fun, silly, care-free times and I smile.
I have the most vivid memory of an afternoon from the distant past. Mom and Judi put Abby and I down for a nap. We didn’t sleep. Rather, we listened to everything our Mom’s were trying to do. They were sitting in the living room trying to come up with a new answering machine greeting. Yup, remember that? An answering machine. They had recently watched White Christmas with Bing Crosby and the love of my life, Danny Kaye. Somehow, they were determined to use the tune of the song, Sisters, to make their new greeting. It was delightful. Anyone who’s seen the film know’s what I’m talking about. Here’s what they came up with:
“Sisters, sisters, there were never such devoted sisters,
If you’d like to talk to one of us just leave your name,
But just remember to wait for the tone,
And we’ll call you back real soon,
I can’t watch White Christmas without thinking fondly of that day. Quietly sitting with Abby, convincing her we were getting away with something by not going to sleep, listening to our Moms make a deep-rooted connection through music that would bring years of smiles to all our faces.
When looking over my running playlist, I noticed that there is no arbitrary music there. There aren’t any random, up-beat fillers to get me from one inspiration to another. They all have real meaning for me.
“They will not force us,
They will stop degrading us,
They will not control us,
We will be victorious,
So come on.”
A little Muse always get’s the heart pumping. Especially a song possessing lyrics to revitalize an internal pride for an institution rocked by scandal that brought personal scrutiny from people, once considered, close friends.
“Yellow diamonds in the light,
Now we’re standing side by side,
As your shadow crosses mine,
What it takes to come alive.”
“I throw my hands up in the air sometimes,
Gotta let go!”
Anyone at THON two years ago, knows the Go-Go Gadget version of these lyrics are the REAL ones:
“I throw my diamonds in the air sometimes,
The tunes from We Found a Love and Dynamite always keep the blood pumping and the feet pounding the pavement. Anyone who’s been to THON and watched 15,000 plus people raise their hands into the air in the shape of a diamond understands the flutters through your stomach these songs can evoke.
Then, a little Van Morrison to cool things down. This would have been the song I would have danced with my Dad to at my wedding.
“We were born before the wind,
Also younger than the sun,
Ere the bonnie boat was won,
as we sailed into the mystic,
Hark, now hear the sailors cry,
Smell the sea and feel the sky,
Let your soul and spirit fly into the mystic.”
During each run, the past, present and future come along. This music, the soundtrack of my life, establishes a common thread that connects all elements to create a sparkling garland of memories. I’m reminded of the best of my world and inspired to keep going one note at a time.