Today’s Flyover People column as seen in The Emporia Gazette:
By the time you read this, I will have mowed the lawn for the first time this year. Redbuds, crabapples and Bradford pears turn Emporia into an April wonderland, trees flowering all at once.
Spring, the most elusive season of all, has finally decided to settle in. Maybe. It snowed last week, followed by a hard frost. Mercury runs up and down the thermometer like a young pianist playing scales.
In this polarized country people don’t agree on much anymore, but I do imagine that most folks enjoy spring. Or maybe we’re all just ready for something new. Kansans tend to greet seasons with gusto. We celebrate the first snow, first daffodils, first day at the lake, the first football game. We put on a new season, wear it around for a few months, and then we’re ready to trade it in for a change of temperature, a change of scenery.
I’m scheduled for another birthday this month, so naturally I’ve been thinking about time and about change. My memory replays all the persons that I have been: a child, a teenager, a college student. I think about the stupid things I’ve done and smart things I’ve done. We live so many lifetimes in just one body.
And yet time slips away. The calendar spins dizzily, and our horoscopes always promise change. But often, we like to keep things the way they are, or how they were once upon a time. We try to reclaim our youth or a particular way of life. However, society shifts, new laws are written, accidents happen, we get sick, we get well, people leave, we change jobs, we move. The world is continually in motion, taking on and letting go.
One thing that continually shifts is music. Each generation brings its own beat, a reflection of the times.
There’s something powerful for us in the music of our coming-of-age years. My teen years were in the ‘70s, and luckily, that was a time for great music: The Eagles, Foreigner, Kansas, Journey, Bread, Aerosmith, Electric Light Orchestra, America, Fleetwood Mac.
While shopping at Reebles North, I often hear ‘70s music over their sound system which makes me very happy. A few weeks ago in the produce aisle, I was trying to “name that Chicago song.” After a quick check of the lyrics on the Internet, I learned it was “Call on Me.”
When I was a teenager my mom wasn’t necessarily pleased about my musical choices. If she listened to music at all, she preferred the slower stuff like Burl Ives, Bobby Vinton, or Andy Williams. She said she liked the type of music in which she could decipher the lyrics. To Mom, who was of the poodle skirt era, my music was just “noise.”
And so on the eight-hour trips that we occasionally took to Arkansas, Mom didn’t care to listen to the radio. This was in the early ‘70s, before the Walkman and the Ipod of course, but I did what I could to get by. Before one trip, I played my albums on my cheapo record player, recording the music onto a cassette tape. Genius, right? So then for the trip, I took the tape recorder, earphones, an extra set of batteries, and I got to listen to my crazy music all the way to Arkansas.
On that trip, on an Oklahoma highway somewhere west of Tulsa, I made a vow to myself, that when I became an adult I would always keep up with the music of the times. I would be a cool grown-up, and change as the music changed.
I did not see rap music coming.
It’s probably a good thing I didn’t have kids because when rap music barged onto the ‘90s scene, I totally understood my mom’s definition of “noise.” I had become an adult.
Rap music aside, I do like most of what I hear on the radio these days.
Music is always going to change. Just like life. We’re able to still listen to ‘70s rock if we choose, but the world has moved on. Sometimes the radio plays music, sometimes it plays noise. But one thing is for certain: everything changes.
Copyright 2014 ~ Cheryl Unruh
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