The merry month of May has come and almost gone and alas, I find my strolls through the park have been far and few between as my cousin Martin is fond of saying. Which is about as frequent as my posts have been on this blog lately. Far and few between.
If you follow Red’s Rants and Raves, you know our family is all together under one roof in South Carolina after a marathon twenty-hour drive from Texas earlier this month. We had planned to spend a night on the road, but unfortunately the Road was battered by a pouring rain as we made our way through Alabama and Georgia where we normally stay the night. Teresa thought it would be easier to drive it on in than stop and unload three dogs, ourselves and a few belongings into a La Quinta in the deluge. I confess I voted against that idea and would have gladly shared my fluffy king-sized motel bed in Birmingham or some place sooner with wet dogs, but I was overruled since she was driving the night shift.
One of the comforts of Worsham Street that I miss most in Casa de Canterbury is my kitchen radio that plays Country Legends on a station from Houston. I know, I know. That is truly sad and pathetic on so many levels. For some of you, the idea that I rely on classic country music for any reason is frightening and the thought that stories of 18-wheeler trucks rolling on down the line to Baton Rouge or knowing when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em on a train called the City of New Orleans or the Orange Blossom Special or the Wabash Cannonball brings me comfort is not only strange but slightly off-center. So be it. I acknowledge my co-dependence on Garth Brooks and his cowboy crooning colleagues.
Last year on one of my stays in Columbia I purchased a small transistor radio from Radio Shack. I had a transistor radio for many years when I was a child and clearly remembered listening to Christmas Carols from another radio station in Houston on warm winter nights. Surely with the technology of the 21st century and the number of radio broadcasts available I should be able to locate a classic country music station in South Carolina. I searched my omniscient computer and easily found the station. I tried, believe me I tried, to like the songs it played. Let’s just say listening to Darius Rucker – who I know to be the original Hootie of Hootie and the Blowfish since they got started in Columbia – singing “country” music wasn’t what I had in mind. I like Darius Rucker and I like his new solo music, but he is not a Country Legend yet.
In desperation this time I branched out and turned to a secondary source: the TV. Since our son’s girlfriend sold AT&T U-Verse for the past seven months, we ditched Time Warner and signed on with her U-Verse plan. I find the new remote to be incredibly complex and regularly confuse the buttons. I have discovered, however, a Classic Country Music Choice channel and can locate it most of the time by myself. Not only does this channel play the Country Legends, it goes a step further which is what TV has always done to radio. One-upmanship or how seeing plus hearing trumps hearing only.
While I listen to my favorites, facts about the song and/or the artist appear on the screen next to the name of the tune and the singer. When I’m curious, I can stop what I’m doing and glance at the television and see the music I’m hearing. Now I can be comforted and informed simultaneously. For example, I’ve always known that Barbara Mandrell was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool, but I never knew she has a pilot’s license to fly airplanes. I’ve sung along with Tanya Tucker forever to Delta Dawn because it’s one of the very few songs I know all the words to, but I didn’t know Tanya drives a hot pink Harley Davidson. Not surprised – just didn’t know.
Yesterday I heard John Conlee sing his Backside of Thirty, Short Side of Time classic and as I read the title on the TV screen, I wondered what John would think about the Backside of Sixty-five. I can tell him the Short Side of Time makes the days pass far and few between quicker which is why I can’t seem to find myself when I need me.