My car gave me a song this week. I know that sounds crazy, but my car does this occasionally. I usually listen to an audio book on my morning commute so my car’s audio system is always tuned to find my favorite Bluetooth device – my iPhone. I have an Audible account so my car usually auto-selects the latest book I’m listening to, but sometimes, randomly, my car connected to my phone will self select some music from my iPod app. There have been times when I am driving my co-workers and me to lunch when we suddenly will hear Nat King Cole croon about “Chestnuts roasting on an opening fire” in the middle of August or the most horrific ancient Roman style music I purchased several years ago for my Bunco Toga party. When my car does this it always makes me smile and reminds when and why I purchased the music.
This week my car gave me the Eagles “Take It to the Limit“. As soon as I heard it, my head went rushing back to the 70’s. I loved that song . The Eagles Greatest Hits album is one of my all time favorites. I wore out at least three vinyls, two eight-tracks, several cassettes and a couple of CD’s before finally downloading the album to my iPod. I remember the first time I heard the album. I was in seventh grade at a birthday slumber party for my friend, Sarah. One of the party goers gave her this masterpiece in vinyl form. We listened to it all night long. I am not sure what about this particular album struck such a deep cord with all of us, but we were entranced with its soulful sound and poetic verses. Obviously because we were in seventh grade attending a small church school we had never taken anything “to the limit one more time” or tasted our first “Tequila Sunrise“, but the music spoke to us.
I had several groups and solo artists I loved in middle school and high school besides the Eagles – from Chicago to Meatloaf to Billy Joel to Elton John, but as an adult I don’t consider myself a music person. I love music by Adele of course, and Lady Gaga and few others of which I know the songs when I hear them, but not the artists’ name.I listen to them every so often when working out or between books, but I have become a big fan of reading my Kindle and listening to audio books in the car. Amazon has made it so easy to switch back and forth between listening and reading that I can start a book on my Kindle then pick right up where I left off in my car using my Audible app. I can get lost in a story, taken away to a fictional place and be somewhere else. I leave where I am and am transported to wherever the story is set. With music though you are not taken to someplace you haven’t been. Often it heightens what you are doing. It adds an exclamation point to the activity. Then when you hear it played again it reminds you of that memory. Books can evoke emotions and help you empathize with the character in the story, but songs often evoke your own emotions from a distant time and long ago memory.
This week listening to the Eagles I remembered being at my friend Sarah’s birthday slumber party. Hanging out with her and several other girls. I remembered the youthful freedom of swimming until our skin was puckered and our bodies were exhausted and starving. I remembered eating these amazing shortbread cookies Sarah’s English-born mother baked for us then learning to make them myself that night after we consumed the first plate in just a couple of minutes. I still make that lightly sweetened, buttery, rich recipe similar to this. I remember sneaking out to toilet paper someone’s house and giggling too loud, but somehow never getting caught. The joy of that night reminds me of the good parts of being the 13 year old girl I once was and the songs from the Eagles Greatest Hits brings all those feelings flooding back.
I have several memories associated with the Eagles and that particular album. When my kids were little we took a trip to Jackson Hole, WY and then to Yellowstone National Park. We went with two other families and traveled with a combined total of 6 kids and 6 adults. Several times during that trip I drove all the kids in my car while the rest of the adults rode together in another. On a shopping stop one day in Jackson Hole I found that Eagles CD in a pile of discounted CD’s so I snatched it up . The rest of the week I force fed the kids all the Eagles Greatest Hits. Summer in Wyoming is so different from summer in Houston. The cool mountain air, the wildlife, the packed snow against the small hotel in which we stayed mesmerized my kids. We drove and drove searching for bears and elk and anything wild. The kids had a blast hiking, searching for animals and throwing snowballs with the small amount snow left on the Wyoming ground in June. They did not necessarily appreciate my good taste in music. My daughter still has visceral reaction to the Eagles. She hated it then and I guess I made sure she hated it more by the end of the trip and for all eternity, but I know the music – even though far from her favorite – reminds her of that vacation and the fond memories we all share.
With the birth of Vivi, I am reminded of all the songs my grandmother used to sing to my
brother and me then to Katie, Will and David and probably to her daughter (my mom), son (my Uncle Dick) and her niece (my cousin, Marje). Songs she likely learned from her mother who sang to her. They were silly songs about Old King Buzzard and an Animal Fair, but I still remember the words and the melodies. Marje has already started singing them to Vivi. It is fun that we are able to pass these songs and memories down through the generations. I believe as Vivi gets older she will think of these songs and smile and remember how much she is loved. I know as she grows she will begin to associate different songs with memories just like her parents, grandparents, uncles and cousins do. I can’t wait to see what music she loves and grows to love and what songs will be associated with memories about our time together.
Last year for my 2016 New Year’s resolution I set a reading goal for myself. It may be the first time I actually kept a resolution. I have enjoyed the process immensely and have become a voracious reader because of it. Next year I plan to have a reading goal again, but I think I am going to add the goal of setting aside time to listen to music as a resolution too. As I get older it becomes more fun to think about the Old Days (Chicago: The Very Best of Chicago). It gives me a Peaceful Easy Feeling. Nothing helps me remember like an old song. Setting a resolution will remind me to take the time to listen and remember so I won’t have to rely on my car for that.
What songs bring memories flooding home to you? Please share with me in the comments section below. If you enjoy my blog please follow me and like this story. Thanks!