My daughter instant messaged me last week when she was visiting the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville. She said,
This is one of my favorite places of all because of all the old school old-fashioned things. And it reminds me of dad of course.
That is all I needed to take a trip down memory lane.
My husband passed away in 2006 when our daughter was a junior in high school. Enough time has now passed that we can remember the good times with fondness, and don’t automatically get teary eyed and overwhelmed with sadness at thoughts of him. I still have my moments, of course, but the grieving process has been successful.
What my daughter’s message brought to mind was that our home used to be filled with the strains of country music. My husband was very fond of traditional country music and also appreciated some contemporary country artists, but his preference was for the older music. That meant that my daughter was raised on country music. In her teenage years she complained about it frequently. Now as a young adult, she admits that she really didn’t hate it but it just was not cool to like it. My sister Mary who lives with me is not a country music fan (although she likes Patsy Cline and some Willie Nelson music) so we do not play it often at home.
My father had also been a fan of country music. While I was growing up, I do not recall a big connection to country music or any other music. A radio was always playing in the dairy barn on our farm (something about keeping the cows contented?) and it was tuned to a country station. When my dad retired and moved off the farm, my parents bought a console stereo and my dad invested in a lot of country music albums. I remember discussing with him which version of Delta Dawn we liked the best. He went with the Tanya Tucker version while I preferred the Bette Midler version.
My husband, my daughter and I went to several concerts of some of the old school performers including Ray Price and Mel Tillis. We also went to a John Anderson concert although he was more current than most of my husband’s favorites. I was amazed with the Ray Price concert. He had moved on from the honky-tonk style of music and had incorporated strings and developed a more orchestrated sound. In doing so, he alienated some of his traditional fans but to me the music was beautiful.
After the message from my daughter, I turned on a traditional country music station and have listened to the likes of Porter Wagoner, Vern Gosdin, Merle Haggard, Don Williams, Earl Thomas Conley and a multitude of others. I am reminded of how comfortable the music was for me, even though there is much sadness and angst. I believe I will make more time for it.
Meanwhile, my daughter and I intend to make a return visit to the Country Music Hall of Fame the next time I visit her in Nashville.
Country music, another thread of my life.