Some days are like this: unattended tasks stack like prairie grass without a clearing in sight.
Or, like songs on iPod’s shuffle where I never know which one to skip.
Songs have always been defined by their driveability. Neil Young still gets air time, but his lyrics rarely get my full attention.
Half a lifetime ago I could spend an afternoon with a best pal and a stack of bootleg cassette tapes and by dusk’s dim signal I might be on a turnpike, or on another state’s salty shore or on a tiny mountain tucked within New England’s foliage quilt. With the right songs and the wrong crowd (well, the best crowd) I welcomed high school nights past curfew in meadows by a river, propped atop the trunk of mom’s borrowed Civic. As a college freshman I set friendships in dorm’s escape with a car-owning friend and we’d travel New Hampshire’s covered bridges, sometimes by moonlight while always singing along. My very first car was a rust-encrusted gold Chevrolet Celebrity where my very first and very best dog held shotgun, always. My music collection grew; I hoarded CDs. Money slowly stuck together from my dead-end bookstore job for clear car speakers until my dog and I rolled in a rusty sound machine for hours on end.
My kitchen has a better sound system than my minivan’s scratchy and faulty factory speakers. Between island speed limits and school’s pick up I’m rarely alone in the vehicle or driving for more than a few minutes.
My almost-two-year-old’s constant ABCs is my current soundtrack . Charming, indeed, but I often make a request for turn down, ask for a quiet drive to feel lyrics, breathe after our hurried morning escape from pajamas and into routine.
This past weekend I had a memory of a certain favorite German Shepherd’s chin on my lap as a great tune came on. Saturday sunset, 44 mph: picking up a pal from work with empty car seats. Eight minutes alone with a seven minute song make this stay-at-home mama to three very, very happy.
This morning Hank Williams’ Moving on Over began and my middle lady said, Excuse me, Mama can you turn up my favorite song? And, can we all be quiet so I can really hear this song, my favorite song?
It’s easy to see where pieces of me fall into the hearts of my daughters. Our life has a constant soundtrack, forever changing. We roll hip hop, opera by four-year-old’s request, even children’s songs about eating veggies and rowing boats. It all sounds wonderful to me, but sometimes it’s nice to flip to Side B.