Friday, December 14, 2018

Musically Speaking

 (Originally published in the Miami News-Record)

Music is a big part of my life and has been since I was a kid. We had an 8-track player in the old Nova and trips to church or Nan’s - or anywhere - were set to the musical stylings of The Gatlin Brothers, The Oak Ridge Boys, or the house favorite, The Statler Brothers. At home there was a giant cabinet stereo with giant speakers looming from the corner behind the fireplace and on weekends when Mom was cleaning house she’d sometimes play the radio, but mostly she just stacked a bunch of 45’s on the turntable before she dragged out that behemoth of an Electrolux and began her cleaning. Olivia Newton-John, John Denver, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Barry Manilow, and again The Statler Brothers crooned away as Sis and I half-heartedly dusted before finally giving up to just lay in the floor and listen. On snow days or sick days we got sometimes got to choose the record. “On Top Of Spaghetti” was chock full of awful, tacky, mostly pretty gross children’s favorites and to this day I can still sing every word to “Great Green Globs of Greasy, Grimy Gopher Guts.” There were countless Disney records and read-with-me book/record combos as well.

There was a lullaby record, “For Sleepyheads Only,”where side two was a trip to Lullaby Land where a magical train chugged its way quietly through London, Norway, Spain, Germany, and other parts abroad powered by fairy dust and childhood dreams. And I’m telling you, that record was truly full of some mystic, powerful juju because Sis and I could be climbing the walls like a couple of junior crackheads and by the time the record got to the Yiddish lullaby our eyes were so heavy there was no more fighting it. I’ve looked for it on CD because with two kids 14 months apart, Abby could use a magic lullaby when her very own crackhead children go insane. Alas, it’s only available on vinyl. 

My music tastes range from disco, 80’s pop, Broadway showtunes, and even some metal. I still love The Statler Brothers, but I reserve them for housecleaning day when the curtains are open and the sun is streaming in, just like Mom did when I was a kid. When the first harmonies burst forth from the speakers Kady runs for the hills. So their music playing is some guaranteed alone time. Sam and I are planning a trip to New York City after his college graduation. We plan to see “Dear Evan Hansen” on Broadway first and foremost and he’s lobbying pretty hard for “SpongeBob: The Musical” but I think he’s joking. Oh Lord, I hope he’s joking. I got tickets for the kids and me to see “Wicked” in Tulsa in September and my poor girls are less than excited. They got their father’s love for musical theatre – absolute zero. But they are humoring me and I adore them for it. 

I’ve been singing to Wemberly and Petal since they were born. My Nana used to sing “I love you [insert grandchild’s name here]” and it is a song totally made up by her, but I can’t imagine not singing it to my own grandkids. I can still hear Nana’s voice singing it. Wemberly always smiles when I sing it to her. Petal usually pulls my hair or whacks me in the nose with her binky, but she’s also a tad bit wilder than her sister. I really need to invest in some piece of recording equipment that can record from vinyl to CD because we gotta have something to calm that rogue baby with a gypsy soul and the attitude of a pit bull /chihuahua cross down some. Although, some days I’m not sure a magical train full of lavender and Benadryl can calm that one down. I think I’m better off just teaching her “Great Green Gobs of Greasy, Grimy Gopher Guts” and cutting my losses.

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