A Boot Scootin' Reminiscence
I think it was a recent conversation (maybe the conversation also involved a quasi-singing session that included such greats as Hank William's Hey Good Lookin') with a friend about his appreciation of country music. I confessed that in my youth, my dislike of country music was strong and a point of contention in my household, which included several diehard country music fans. I cannot count the number of times my brothers and I quarreled over which radio station to be played during road trips.
The conversation left me thinking about the country music of my youth (late 70s, 80s and most of the 90s). Like it or not, country music composes a good portion of the soundtrack of my life. If you mention country music to me, the first image that pops into my mind is the small transistor radio playing the twangy hits as Grandma Henderson shelled peas while seated in her rocking chair. Next I feel my cheeks getting a little red and I recall how ridiculous my dad used to look as he bobbed back and forth singing off key while blaring 92.5 (WPAP) while driving the 1982 brown Ford Econoline van into the driveway after a day at work.
Today my mind was stuck on last week's country-music conversation. I opened up the Stickies application and composed a list of country songs from my childhood that I remember liking; many triggering significant and/or special memories. I then had a field day on iTunes, downloading several of them. This is my list:
- Baby I Lied by Deborah Allen: This song doesn't really trigger a memory. It's just great song.
- Boot Scootin' Boogie by Brooks and Dunn: This one takes me back to my first teenage job, working fast food at Hardee's. A little boot scootin' with Becky and Christy sure did making sweeping and mopping the floors more fun and go a lot faster.
- Elvira by The Oak Ridge Boys: This song is the soundtrack of kindergarten and part of first grade. If you knew all of the words you were cool. My mom and dad loved the Oak Ridge Boys and saw them in concert more than once. I remember one time they went, and my brother and I really wanted to go with them, but we couldn't. When my parents came home, they surprised us with Survivor's Eye of the Tiger LP.
- Forever and Ever, Amen by Randy Travis: This is the only song that brings back memories of Grandpa Henderson. He always got a kick out of Randy's line about old men sitting and talking about he weather and old women sitting and talking about old men.
- Grandpa (Tell Me 'Bout the Good Ol' Days) by The Judds: How many young girls performed this song in elementary school talent shows in 1986, 1987, 1988... ?
- He Stopped Loving Her Today by George Jones: My best friend's mother, Ms. Peggy, has told us since early on that this is the song she wants played when she dies.
- Nobody by Sylvia: This song is first grade in the elementary school auditorium in Bristol, FL.
- Sleeping Single in a Double Bed by Barbara Mandrell: Oh, how we loved the Mandrells! When my little sister, Melissa, was born, my brothers and I argued in the back of the green Datsun station wagon over which Mandrell sister (Barbara, Louise or Irlene) she was going to be named after. Imagine our disappointment when we arrived at the hospital and learned she was already named Melissa Sue.
- Smokey Mountain Range by Ronnie Milsap: Kirkland's Store used to be located at the foot of the White City draw bridge (which is also no longer there). We'd go there for RC Colas, to read the semi-lewd (I hunt white tail all year) bumper stickers and Oreo Big Stuff cookies. You could also buy live bait: crickets, minnows and earthworms. Hal worked at the store on most days. He wore large dark sunglasses that always made me think of Ronnie Milsap.
I still would not consider myself a huge country fan, but I am better able to identify and appreciate its value. I will say that I am a fan of several country artists like Dolly, Loretta, and The Dixie Chicks. I love songs that tell stories. Few genres do that as well a country, and telling my life story would not be possible without including country.