Wednesday’s Theme Music

 

Songs often connect me to another place and time. In today’s case, I was connected to another person’s connection to elsewhere.

She was on my team at a San Mateo start-up. I’d moved to Oregon by now but went down to meet with my team once a month. We’d become good friends by then. First, she’d worked for my wife at an advertising agency. When a resource action moved them to the unemployment rosters, I hired her for a temp position and then ended up asking her to join my team. We carpooled for a while, too, and appreciated one another’s humor.

I had a radio in my office, the same boom box that was bought for office use in Germany a decade before, the same one I use now when I’m doing yard work. Back visiting my team in 2006, she was sitting in my office when they played The Killers, “When You Were Young”.

She said, “Oh, can you turn that up?”

Sure. I did.

Her expression acquired that almost reverential introspective gaze that people sometimes gain when they’re privately reminiscing. We started talking about the song. She told me that it reminded her of a friend. This is had happened about ten years before. She’d met this great guy, they got married, and then he cheated on her. Her friend became severely depressed and was going to kill herself but he found her and stopped it. They ended up going to counseling. Unlike the song, though, he cheated again. That was it for her. She didn’t kill herself, but she did divorced his ass.

So I remember her remembering this song as she remembers her friend.

I watched the video later to get a better understanding of what the song was about. It’s a long video, and they take their time getting into the music.

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Imprint 2

After moving out of Mom’s house when I was fourteen and moving in with Dad, I missed my old home and Mom’s cooking.

Dad, a bachelor, was in the military. He’d just returned from an assignment in Germany. Besides his military day job, he had a second job running the small base’s all-ranks club, so I rarely saw him. That lasted three months. Then he retired and we moved to southern WV.

I’d mentioned missing Mom’s cooking to her on one of our phone conversations. Mom bought me Betty Crocker Cook Book as a present so I could make the stuff she had.

It was a humbling lesson. Mom usually used a recipe in her head. I had to plod their detailed instructions. Whereas her measuring skills were fast and effortlessly, I labored through cups, tsp, tbs, and their incremental differences.

But I weathered it, making myself stuffed green peppers, meat loaf, pot roast, spaghetti and meatballs, along with side dishes, and eventually baked cakes, cookies, pies, and other desserts. I never made fried chicken, odd in retrospect. I preferred roasting or grilling my chicken. In fact, my favorite meal became over-roasted thighs with buttered red potatoes and broccoli.

Don’t know why I never made the fried chicken. Maybe I was lazy, or maybe, subconsciously, I knew that some things couldn’t be duplicated.

Imprinted

We heard a story…

Everyone had grown up and left the home, nurturing their lives, careers, and dreams. Somehow, though, they began having Sunday dinner together every week. Mom was so overjoyed that she made their favorite every week, which was southern fried chicken.

I immediately recalled watching Mom go through her fried-chicken process in our little ranch style home in the mid 1960s. Starting with a whole chicken, she would wash it and rub it down with cold water and then burn the remains of the feathers off over the gas burner. Truthfully, I never saw any feathers. I don’t know if Mom saw any, either, but this was her process.

Next, she washed the chicken again, and then dried it, and cut it into pieces. The pieces were dipped in egg, and then rolled in white flour with salt and pepper. She fried it in grease from her drippings collection in a big electric skillet. (Crisco later replaced the drippings.) The chicken was vigilantly watched and turned. When judged ready, they were removed and put on paper towels so excess grease could drip off.

I know her process well, and know how her fried chicken tasted as well. Nothing like grabbing a cold piece of fried chicken out of the refrigerator for a late-evening snack. Like many things she made for us to eat in those years, it ruined things for me later. I’ve always been looking for something that tastes as good as Mom’s. When you’ve had the best, it’s imprinted.

The Truth

He repeated something that his wife had told him. “I never said that,” she said before anyone else could speak.

Indignation rose. Yes, you did, he began to say, but considered, maybe he’d heard it wrong. Maybe he was mis-remembering. Or maybe she’d said it wrong. Perhaps she didn’t remember saying it, or the people that told her had told her wrong. Or maybe she’d incorrectly remembered what she’d been told and then told him wrong, but didn’t remember it.

The only way to resolve this would be record and index everything so that he could go back and know exactly what was said. 

Yeah, right. Who had time for that?

He smiled. “Sorry. I guess I got it wrong.”

In My Neck…

In my neck of existence, back when I was a child, snowstorms meant listening to the AM radio to see if school was canceled. Snowstorms meant bundling up to go outside to play in this substance, to sled, build, explore, and experience. The storms meant returning home to hot tomato soup with a grilled cheese sandwich with a dill pickle, or a cup of hot cocoa.

Snowstorms changed our neighborhood sounds, forcing out the usual ruckus in favor of cars’ soft sibilant hissing, or a spinning whine as tires looked for a bite in the slick mess. Rhythmic chains, clicking studs, and the snowplows’ grinding blades broke the stillness, enhancing the ambiance.

The house was hot and the outside was frigid. Sunshine seemed hidden by infinite layers. Trees were starkly outlined, but cars and houses were buried.

Snowstorms made the day special as routines bent and fractured under the snow’s weight. Now I anticipate the snowstorm for days, hoping it’ll return some of childhood’s joys when the snow closes us in, but the storms rarely stand up to hopes.

At least, in my neck of experience.

Smoke

I smell a pipe and remember Dad.

Cigars remind me of my smoking fad.

Mother dear arises with sights of Salems and Kools.

Pall Malls and Marlboros put me in the office with chain-smoking fools.

But marijuana rolls me back in time

to my youth, when a hazy high was sublime.

 

Monday’s Theme Music

A simple song today, streaming an old favorite. This came out in ’72, when I was just getting my driver’s license, still in high school, and living with dad. Don’t know what kicked it into the stream this morning, but I’ve always liked its sound and energy.

Let’s enjoy some Led Zeppelin with “Rock and Roll”. Rock out 2018, rock in 2019.

Cheers

 

Sunday’s Theme Music

I read about a Yemeni mother and her son. The Trump administration had separated the two-year old boy from his mother. The boy was dying. After months of separation, the mother was allowed into the country to see her son. He died shortly afterward.

Paul Simon’s “Mother and Child Reunion” (1972) played in my stream after reading the news.

Oh, little darling of mine
I can’t for the life of me
Remember a sadder day
I know they say “let it be”
But it just don’t work out that way
And the course of a lifetime runs
Over and over again

Read more: Paul Simon – Mother And Child Reunion Lyrics | 

I heard the song again on the radio when I left the house today. I felt that gave it standing to be Sunday’s theme music.

 

Friday’s Theme Music

A friend was once singing today’s song, “Timothy”, by the Buoys, shortly after it was high on the pop charts. I asked him if he knew what this song was about, because listening closely, it seemed like it was about two guys eating the third one with them, Timothy.

I probably haven’t thought about the song since ’bout the time of that conversation in 1971. Recalling the song last night, I looked it up. Yep, it was about a cave in, and the two survivors eating the other, with the singer claiming that he must have blacked out, but he awoke with a full stomach.

Strangest to me, I learned that Rupert Holmes, who wrote and sang, “Escape (The Pina Colada Song)” (1979), wrote “Timothy”.

That’s the net’s fun aspect, looking things up to answer, what the hell?

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