Tuesday, October 7, 2008
My father is not Hank Williams, Jr.
I was sitting at my computer, typing up shopping list, when it occurred to me that I could pull up iTunes and stream a radio station. A few clicks here and there, and the window was open.
So many options. What to choose?
Christian music, to set the tone of my afternoon?
An 80s station, to remind me of the days when I thought Simon LeBon was hot?
A little early 90s alternative, to bring me back to the heady days of senior high?
Classical, always a safe bet?
Nothing felt right.
I scrolled down.
Country. Hmmmm ....
List the options. Wow. A lot of options.
Does that say "classic country of the 70s"?
Why, yes. It does.
And it washes over me.
Stretching across the back bench seat of our Chrysler with a coloring book and sweet-smelling crayons. The windows wide open. My father driving with a beer can between his knees and a Pall Mall in his left hand. My mom fishing through a cooler full of baloney sandwiches. The changing scenery of I-75 South.
And on the radio, it was Outlaw Country. Kris Kristofferson. Johnny Cash. Waylon Jennings. Willie Nelson. Hank Williams, Jr. The soundtrack of every trip I ever took as a child was chock full of beer, booze and honky tonk women.
So I spent an hour listening to songs that gave me a glimpse back at my childhood. Did my father really sing "Family Tradition" at full volume as he flicked his smoke out into the thick, grey air of Dayton, Ohio? Yes. I remember it now. He did. Did "Ladies Love Outlaws" really make my momma squeal and slap the dashboard? Oh, yeah.
Funny how music brings that all back, isn't it?
After having confessed all of this, I'm absolutely sure that 90% of my readers will have a whole new impression of me.
Let me go ahead and keep shattering your image. This place here?
Yeah ... it's an hour and half from where my father's side of the family lives.