I have decided, since music is such a significant part of my life, that I would start writing about it. You can't deny that music has played an integral role in everything we do. From "Pomp and Circumstance" to "Here Comes the Bride" to "Take Me Out to the Ballgame", there are just some songs that have meaning to each of us. They signify events in our lives, remind us of experiences we've had, and unfortunately, sometimes symbolize the end of an era or a life. For me, music brings out emotions like nothing else can, especially in movies (and lately television). And if the movie is, in fact, a musical, tissues please! Would anyone have cried quite so hard or felt such exhilaration if songs such as "My Heart Will Go On" or "Gimme Shelter" hadn't been the soundtrack for Titanic and Goodfellas? There are movies where music literally gives me goosebumps during certain scenes. And if you haven't seen "Blow", that movie is the perfect example of how music can help shape the story while giving you a personal connection to it...even if you're not a drug dealer. Wink.
There are some songs that just move me for whatever reason. And I would be remiss not to start a series on them. Who knows, maybe you'll discover music you've never heard, and wouldn't that be a gem!
I'll start with a song that takes us back almost 26 years.
The Music Muse...part one
Seventeen years old, sitting in the back of the parents’ Lincoln Town Car, crying my ever loving eyes out listening the THIS song on repeat for two hours straight on the drive home from Wisconsin.
That’s what "Lullaby" by Concrete Blonde reminds me of -- it also reminds me what a little jerk I was on our way to Wisconsin.
I didn’t want to go. I mean really?! Vacation in Lake Geneva with my parents?! Puh-leeze. No thank you. Forget about it.
In the week we were there, I went from moody teen hiding behind sunglasses and a Walkman who didn’t want to go on this “stupid trip” to, well, pretty much the same moody teen except I didn’t want to leave.
The first three days of the vacation I was such a brat. I made sure everyone knew I was not happy. We arrived at the farmhouse just outside of Lake Geneva where the caretaker, Nick, ended up being my savior. Nick was much older, probably in his forties, and an alcoholic. How could an alcoholic possibly save me?
Don’t get the wrong idea, there was no funny business. For pete’s sake, I was a young girl on vacation with my parents! But his actions brought me out of my sullen shell.
It started with a frog. I sat on the patio behind my aforementioned sunglasses, listening to music, not interacting with anyone as usual (reminder, I was seventeen!), when suddenly I had a frog in my face. I emitted a high pitched scream, the first sound I’d made in days, and bolted out of the chair. Nick chased me around the back yard with it. At first I was pissed. But screaming turned to giggling and that was the start of my transformation.
Nick had gotten my attention. Then he took our whole family to a dairy farm down the road. Still trying to keep up my cool facade, I made it clear there was no way I going to milk a damn cow. Nick made me anyway. Again, I squealed. And we all laughed this time.
Nick was quite the character. He could’ve been on a sitcom. Nick was like the fun uncle everyone seems to have. He had no expectations from anyone, not even himself, he just wanted to have a good time.
By the time the end of the week rolled around, I didn’t want to go home. I was having...fun. Fun with Nick, fun with my parents and sister. I had forgotten why I didn’t want to go in the first place. I was very sad to leave. I don’t even remember saying goodbye to Nick. I just remember putting the sunglasses and headphones back on, turning the Concrete Blonde song to repeat, and crying all the way home.
I didn’t expect I’d ever see Nick again after our vacation. He wasn’t the type of guy who stayed in one place very long, he wasn’t someone we’d be inviting over for the holidays. But for one week in the life of a typical teenager, he was a light I was drawn to.
I ended up using the farm location where we stayed in a novel I hope to someday finish, as a tribute to how important that place ended up becoming to us as a family.
A year or so after that vacation with my parents, Nick had died. The alcohol caught up with him. I didn’t go to the funeral. I guess I didn’t want to admit he was gone.