Friday, January 13, 2017

What You Remember

The good news is, you remember more than you think you do.

The disturbing news is, the things you think you remember diverge dangerously from what you actually remember.

How do I know? I've been listening to Sirius Radio, specifically Prime Country and Willie's Roadhouse. Listening to these channels has caused a brushfire to burst inside my brain.

I've discovered a trove of embalmed remembrances; scattered jigsaw pieces that couldn't fuse with their silvery counterparts without a flash of jagged lightning.

Ray Price, Alabama, the Oak Ridge Boys; forgotten George Strait tracks, Lori Morgan, Patty Loveless, Faron Young singing a Kris Kristofferson song; recalling that the track was included on an album titled, "Precious Memories". Remembering the album cover -- a grey-tinged photo of Faron. Warbling along to "Heartaches By The Number". Charlie Walker singing a song called, "San Diego" that my best friend Alice and I harmonized with when it played on the radio. Wynn Stewart. Loretta Lynn's "Honky Tonk Girl". Barbara Mandrell when she was edgy.

As the song goes, I've forgotten more than you'll ever know.

Merle Haggard singing, "Are The Good Times Really Over".

Songs I didn't necessarily like when they were new. Songs I really liked when they were new, but somehow forgot about. Songs that conjure a time and a place and the expensive Bang and Olufsen speakers I signed my life over to purchase in 1980 when my boys were tiny waifs, and now they're forty. And how did the years slip by so stealthily?

Songs like "Burning Memories" that bring my dad back to me.

Hearing these songs make me happy but sad. Sad and aching for what I can't get back. I miss my dad. I hope I get to see him again someday. But I don't know. I'm agnostic on that topic.

Sad and aching for my boys who've moved on and who've forgotten the moments we once shared. Forgotten that it was me who set them on their path, like my dad set me on mine. Everything is a chain; we just don't see it until time and longing plop us down in that place. In a perfect world, we'd remember the important things before they're gone. But we're not perfect -- we only see what's before our eyes. I took my dad for granted when he was with me. I'd like to have him here; talk to him; let his wisdom stuff my heart. My dad was the only person in my life who could ever teach me something I didn't already know.

All I am is a result of my dad. Dad and the music he loved.

Sure, I formed my own loves. Music Dad didn't understand. That's kind of what kids do. That's life's progression. But we always come back, don't we? One day, we come back.

Sorry for these sentimental waxings. I guess I'm in a nostalgic mood tonight. Music tends to do that. As a songwriter, I should know that, but it's different when you're in the zone -- you focus on the moment and don't consider the bludgeon of memory.

We all have those -- those things we forgot but remember. They might be tied to our dad or our mom or to somebody else who bathed our lives in light.

It's a damn glorious thing.

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