>Life is a highway…

12 Feb

>In case you haven’t noticed, there’s a soundtrack to my life. And it’s about more than being an extra in an old Ally McBeal episode. Or having an aneurism that makes me see George Michael in my living room. It’s about music defining me as a person.

You see, it all started way back when. When I was but a young pup with parents who were both too young and too dysfunctional to understand that cranking the music at 2 a.m. on a school night just isn’t what you do. And since that particular list of do’s and don’ts continues on from there (ad nauseam), it is best served up in novel form. I will tell you that it isn’t just run-of-the-mill “I had parents who were lenient” stuff. I’ve had more than one friend who’s heard some of my stories tell me that they thought of me when they read Running With Scissors. And again during The Glass Castle. And it’s all but littered throughout with Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. There isn’t a song on that album that I can’t recite with my eyes closed. But only with them closed. Tightly. With a pillow over my head.

That book will burst forth one day. I feel it simmering. But until then, I’ll just blog and add in a song of the day at the end to feed that need.

And make playlists in iTunes. My current fav is called Scenes from a Dysfunctional Childhood. Tonight was its debut with the fam. Miss 6 watched intently as I sang every word to Funeral for a Friend and Me and Bobby McGee. “How do you know all those words, Mommy?” “Well. You can’t help but memorize every word of songs that seep into your psyche.” Now I wonder if those same lyrics will be etched on hers. Even though I know from her blank look that she thinks I’m just certifiable. And will leave it at that. For now.

Since my dad died a few years ago, I find myself suddenly crying. In my car. Driving down the road. And it takes me a few beats to realize why. It’s the song on the radio. I look over and he’s riding beside me. Even if that never happened. Not even once. And we didn’t even like each other very much. (It’s complicated.) But I think that’s what makes our shared love of music that much more poignant. Even though he knew he was dying and refused to pick up the phone to bridge our gap before he was gone, we will remain forever connected by those songs. I guess that counts for something. It’s just hard to not regret that we can’t sing them together and realize we’re doing it. And be happy about it. Just one time.

We went to this place called Ruby’s Diner on Saturday. It’s at the new Twenty-Ninth Street mall. They play all this music from the 40s. And that reminded me of my dad’s dad. And I cried then too.

So I guess you could say that I’ve turned into a sentimental fool. Crying at every song from every era because it reminds me of some piece of my life’s soundtrack. I remember Mima tearing up when she talked about her parents and I always thought it was weird. I didn’t think I’d ever cry over mine. I even called Mima on Sunday to ask her what a “Flat Foot Floogie” is so we could get a good laugh. But look at me. Tearing up when I hear The Happy Wanderer because my Papa used to play it on his old reel-to-reel tape player in his home office. Louis Prima. Maybe Fats Waller too. Now Bean walks around singing “Vald-eee! Vald-ahhh! Ha-ha-ha-ha!” And that just makes me smile. So I guess that means there’s hope for me after all.

Right now I’m listening to Dark Side of the Moon as I write this. What that song brings me back to is the back of a van. The van had rainbow carpet and a kick-ass sound system. Blue pleather seats. A pull up table and refrigerator filled with Budweiser. The side of it had a custom mural. It showed a peaceful, snowy village all snuggled up for the night that reminds me of the view down my street on a winter’s eve. You’re looking at this tranquil scene of lighted windows and smoke from chimneys over the shoulder of a huge, hairy beast — drool coming from his mouth. Yes. You heard me correctly. A monster. Waiting for his moment to attack. Besides being a Wake Forest-educated accountant and psychology major, my dad was an airbrush artist. This particular masterpiece was all his — replicated on both sides of our family vehicle. And it followed me around everywhere for that period of my life. That monster and Pink Floyd. (Do you still wonder why I’m terrified of large, predatory animals? ☺) The good news is that our other car was a Mercedes. Which just reminds me of Janis again. The soundtrack has come full circle.

In current events, we are in big planning mode for Miss 6. You see, she turns 7 next Sunday and has requested a stay at the St. Julien in lieu of a birthday party. So we have to make plans and determine what her new name will be. Miss 6 can’t just become Miss 7. It’s gotta be better. Different. And I just want her to stay 6 forever anyway. I also need to order her cake. (We just love Tee & Cakes. Obsession is under-stating…)

Should Miss 6 stay 6 or should she become Tee-Ta? (Bean-speak for sister.) I just don’t know…And the beat goes on.

TODAY’S THEME SONG: The Happy Wanderer. Louis Prima. I love to go a-wandering along the mountain track…My knapsack on my back…

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