Oh, there was a frog and he lived in a well…
…and a fump, fump, fump in a kimo. He reared and he pitched and he couldn’t make a jump… and a fump, fump, fump in a kimo.
When I was a kid, few people had a radio in their car. The vacuum tubes that did the electronic duty of transistors glowed orange hot making car radios a serious drain on power. You could see them if dad ever let you crawl part-ways under the dash board.
The old Studebaker that was our family transportation in those days was a real clunker. A hole, rusted in the floor in the back seat, came in handy for a family of all boys who never seemed to be capable of synchronizing the need for bio breaks with our dad’s idea of how often a pit stop ought to be necessary. The car burned so much oil that we got in the habit of asking gas station attendants to “check the gas and top off the oil.”
One thing good about that rusty, old hunk of junk was that it was perfect for a family with nothing much to do on a weekend. Mom would pack a picnic and we boys got to take turns deciding the direction we would take at the next intersection. We got good at navigating and we got real good at singing since the radio couldn’t be counted on for reliable entertainment.
Nowadays, you can tell a lot about someone simply by asking what’s on their playlist. And, yes, it really matters. If words matter, then music is the killer app.
I believe a generation is defined by its values and experiences as anchored by the music and ceremony of its formative years.
Just about everyone gets that wrong (except me!) A generation has little to do with your age. The musical choices of a Millennial won’t have much in common with a boomer’s playlist. And boomers, trust me when I tell you, that the language you are likely to hear coming from a Millennial’s device is likely to curl your hair.
If you don’t have a playlist, let me give you a few hints.
Religious music covers both ends of the spectrum, from horrible, dreary tunes written in the key of p-minus-7 to inspiring, gorgeous anthems such as “How Great Thou Art.”
Our family sang everything including folk music…”Skeeters am a humming ‘round the honeysuckle vine… sleep, Kentucky babe.” Do you know it?
What’s on your list for patriotic music? Gotta include Lee Greenwood who is proud to be an American and wants you to be just as proud. Growing up in Kentucky we were taught to remove our hats and stand whenever we were invited to sing the “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” It wasn’t racist then and it isn’t racist now.
On summer nights we would hang out on the front porch and sing “Heart of My Heart.” Sometimes my uncles would get about half lit and pull the cover off the cistern. We would lay on our bellies and sing into that giant echo chamber… “We were rough and ready guys but, oh, how we could harmonize.”
Favorite classical music has to include Shostakovich and the “Great Gate of Kiev”. And, of course, we can’t leave out my favorite, “Romeo and Juliet.”
Give me an “F” on the piano and hold it for three or four beats and I will recognize “Michele” by the Beatles. Play the opening two bars of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”, also by the Beatles, and I will name that tune for you. Meanwhile the Eagles are over-nighting at the “Hotel California.”
The way we use our musical language reveals much about who we are and who we would like to be.
So what’s on your playlist? Better yet, what’s on your children’s playlist? Have you listened to your children’s musical choices lately? It’s okay if you have to toss some of their favorites, if you find them offensive or even crude. They will eventually understand.
In the long run, they will thank you for filling the car and your home and their hearts with beautiful music.
P.S. Have you figured out where the frog lives
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