Secretly

The sun is beating on my head through my hat. I’m just the help. It’s a role that I enjoy.

Some.

“Boss me around, baby,” I do NOT say. I stay mute, gloves on hands, left arm in its removable brace, hoe nearby, spade in hand.

My wife is the master, planting her garlic for winter. She’s serious about her garden. Fresh bulbs had been procured, along with the right soil and fertilizer. Potatoes occupy the usual garlic winter home. A new one is required. “Somewhere in the sun,” she proclaims with steely vigor, looking around.

A song spurts into my head. Oh, hey. Did you happen to —

“We need to move the compost bins,” my wife declares.

We’re in the side yard, where most of the gardening is done. Boo, the backyard panther with a white star on his chest (like he’s sheriff) (guess, that would be a floofriff) moseys along toward us, talking as he comes. One compost bin (previously emptied) is moved to a new location. With this happening, Boo retreats to the backyard He wants nothing to do with work.

I shovel the compost from the full one to the empty one’s new location. The song resumes it secret playing in my head. Oh, hey. Did you happen to see the most beautiful girl in the world. And if you did, was she crying?

Yes, Charlie Rich is serenading my brain with “The Most Beautiful Girl” as I do as I’m told. (We’re now on breaking up the soil where the garlic is to reside.) I blame my mother for this song. While Charlie Rich’s voice and the accompanying music is coming off vinyl courtesy of Mom’s mohogany Magnavox console stereo, it’s Mom singing along along with Rich who is actually singing in my head. She used to frustrate me by singing this song when I was trying to talk to her about it. It was apparently funny to her. The song came out in 1973. I would turn seventeen that year. I’d left home a year or two before to live with Dad, but would return to Mom for major holidays. Dad, single guy that he was, didn’t do holidays.

Why did Mom sing that song to me? Why was I singing today? These the mind’s mysteries. At least, they’re my mind’s mysteries. I don’t know what goes on in others’ minds. I barely comprehend what’s happening in my own.

“Now I just need to water them.” My wife was finished. I was dismissed.

It was a good day. Time to go wash my wife’s car. Wonder what song will be playing?

Oh, wait, Rose Royce begins their 1976 hot song, “Car Wash”. I was stationed in the Republic of the Philippines when it was out. My good buddy Bopie introduced it to me.

At least this one is task appropriate.

Wednesday’s Theme Music

Musically, I’m living in the past. Not surprising, is it? The music from the past is more connected to me. I used it to celebrate, grieve, love, and learn.

I was also inundated by it in the past. I commuted everyday and took long road trips by car. Although listening to talk radio, sports, and books on tape competed for my attention, many hours were devoted to pop music, including rock.

I don’t commute much any more. COVID-19 has truncated my traveling opportunities. So, I’m less exposed to new music via radio. I could turn it on in the house, but I generally maintain silence through the day. I’m writing and reading, and not interested in distractions. Which is what all those things were on long drives and morning commutes: distractions from the tedium.

Anyway, this morning found me channeling the 1976 Doobie Brothers song, “Taking It to the Streets”. This is a response to the presidential debates last night. “Oh, you. Telling me the things you’re going to do for me. I’m not blind and don’t like what I think I see.”

I always like videos of live shows, when I can, so I’m sharing a 1982 video of their farewell tour. The band’s energy can often be vicariously experienced, and it makes me smile to see them all young and vibrant once again, you know?

Cheers

Friday’s Theme Music

Every once in a while during my life, I encountered a person (or group) that so infuriate me, that I think, “You know…if I had the means…”

Know what I’m talking about? Right, getting a gun and putting them down because the world would be better without them. Maybe planting a little C4. It seems so easy on TV.

But I’m not that kind, except sometimes in my writing. Still, the wistfulness of sometimes solving a problem ala “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” as AC/DC proposed back in ’76 seizes me, ya know?

Yeah.

Saturday’s Theme Music

Another song which entered my stream this morning and just lodged itself. A worthy song, sure, and one that I’m familiar with, but not my ‘type’ of preferred music. Of course I know it; pop music was less divided back in 1976 when this song came out, with fewer stations. Generally, in the places were I was, there were two or three news/talk format, two or three pop/rock stations, a local NPR station, a sports station, light adult contemporary, a jazz station, several religious stations, and a couple of country and western. My car had six presets, so I had my favorites on there and went back and forth, punching the button with a finger when something I didn’t want to hear came on.

Nevertheless, so songs were overpowering popular, that they were heard everywhere, all the time. Besides hearing them on the radio, they’d be on television. People played them on their car cassette players, record players at home, and 8-track players.

This song, “Don’t Cry Out Loud”, performed by Melissa Manchester, seemed like it was one of them.

Saturday’s Theme Music

I was being prepped for surgery yesterday (routine and elective, no worries) when I began streaming the 1976 Pablo Cruise song, “Love Will Find A Way”. My specific verse was, “Oh, but it’s all right, once you get past the pain.” See, I was giving myself a little pep talk – “It’ll be fine, once you get past the pain. Yes, you know you’re right, Michael.” The Pablo Cruise song helped distract me.

The surgery didn’t come off. My BP was running 230/131. Too high, they said. It was checked several more times and never dropped.

My wife and I were surprised and baffled. As she put it, “He’s very active, walking almost ten miles a day, and never seems to have a problem.” Off I went to another doctor to address that issue. Heart, lungs, carotids, etc., all sound good, no dizziness, etc. A medicine was prescribed to lower it. We’ll go with the flow and see where it goes.

Meanwhile, a little mellow music.

Tuesday’s Theme Music

“More Than A Feeling” (Boston, 1976) is a song about memories and regrets. Yeah, mistakes? I’ve made a few.

After a pleasant writing session yesterday, I drifted through plans and my personal history, which took me into this song.

So many people have come and gone
Their faces fade as the years go by
Yet I still recall as I wander on
As clear as the sun in the summer sky

h/t AZLyrics.com

I was twenty years old when this song came out and stationed with the U.S. Air Force in the Philippines. Whenever this song was played at parties, someone inevitably requested, “Turn it up.” Dos, someone usually played the air guitar. Trey, several people would sing along. It’s that kind of song, a poignant rocker.

 

Tuesday’s Theme Music

The song, “The Year of the Cat” (Al Stewart) was released in 1976. A mellow pop-rock song, I was stationed on an unaccompanied tour with the USAF when it came out. The song appealed to me, and I sometimes played it while sitting in my barracks room burning candles in a straw basket to create shapes.

On a morning from a Bogart movie
In a country where they turn back time
You go strolling through the crowd like Peter Lorre
Contemplating a crime
She comes out of the sun in a silk dress running
Like a watercolour in the rain
Don’t bother asking for explanations
She’ll just tell you that she came
In the year of the cat

I was a little bored. I’d usually sip wine or cognac while I was doing this.

Another’s post had reminded me of the song. As it streamed through my mind, I thought that cats measured time differently than we do. We establish a calendar and a clock based on what we observe. Cats declare, “This is my year,” and ignore the calendar. The year of the cat when we had Jade lasted twenty years. Pogo had a year that went for four, his year cut short by a car, while cancer ended Quinn’s year of the cat after twelve years. So it goes.

We have three  cats. Each has declared their own year. Tucker’s year began four years ago, while Boo and Papi are each into about twenty-four months of their year. I hope each has a long year of the cat.

Sunday’s Theme Music

Today’s theme music entered my stream due to some nocturnal emissions.

Nocturnal emissions, if you don’t know, is also known as phantom writing. It’s the practice of writing in your bed when you’re supposed to be sleeping.

I’d been sleeping when both calf muscles seized, throwing me awake. After my wife and I rubbed the spasm with some toe-flexing help, I went through the dream I’d been in and then my thoughts drifted into the novel in progress. Turning to what’s happening in the novel, I thought, “What are these deeds? Who is doing them?”

That created an easy transition to “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” by AC/DC (1976). With that rocking my head, sleep easily pulled me in.

Sing along if it moves you. The words are easy to learn.

 

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