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Hee Haw Honkey Tonkin’ CMA’s

It’s Friday, and I have country music on the brain. Just so you know, I DEPLORE country music. (Remember that line one day, because you’ll enjoy throwing it in my face.)

To me, country music is my Dad’s rust-colored Ford Granada. Vinyl that burned my legs when I crawled into the front seat. And, the brand-new FM station that played non-stop country tunes.

Yeah, cross the sun on those seats with that music, and THAT is the seventh circle of hell.

Anyway, I wasn’t allowed to listen to anything rock-and-roll, but country was cool when I was in the car with Dad. Hank Williams Jr. Conway Twitty. Willie Nelson. Loretta Lynn. Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton. Buck Owens and Roy Clark.

I’ve been thinking about those times with Dad a lot lately. Trying to connect with what made that music resonate. With him. Not with me.

Because, I’ll admit it, I usually made up country songs to drown out the radio. I had the formula down: jail, drunk, cheating, a bar, maybe some murder. If I sang my unrecorded jewel at the top of my voice for long enough, eventually Dad would turn the flipping thing off. (Rosanna’s Baby Honkey Tonk, because somehow babies came out of honkey tonking, but I didn’t understand how that happened exactly.)

So, it was perplexing for me to have a character scream out of my head and identify with this song. Insist that it be sentimental. Even clog up my stupid green eyes with tears when it hit me.

Do our fathers possess us somehow and play these tricks on us when we’re grown?

40 Comments Post a comment
  1. Oh, yes, our daddies do just that, Andra. I still can’t hear Pennies from Heaven, dancing in my white anklets on my Daddy’s feet, believing the song was written just for me.

    How fun StoryCorps will be. Somehow I feel your dad will find all the right stories to tell. Enjoy.

    November 2, 2012
    • Pennies from Heaven is a lovely song. It’s special to me, too.

      November 2, 2012
  2. I’m sure my children will be writing about the music that I imposed on them when they were little – the worst must have been my endless cigarette smoking in the car. I can’t believe I really did that.

    November 2, 2012
    • Dad did cigars and pipes when I was really young, but I don’t remember whether he ever did those in the car. He did chew tobacco in the car. Ick.

      November 2, 2012
  3. My dad is very musical and we always had music in our home, but my dad is very eclectic in his tastes and I grew up with it all! He went through a country music phase that I didn’t enjoy at the time, but yesterday I heard a Johnny Cash/Willie Nelson version of Ghost Riders in the Sky and thought, “Boy, I like this!” I had to laugh. I’m not sure when that button switched to “on,” but I thanked my dad. :-)

    November 2, 2012
    • MTM loves Johnny Cash, and I try for his sake. If you Dad liked pretty much everything, then you probably heard so many different things that you couldn’t attribute them to the uncoolness of parenthood…….

      November 2, 2012
  4. You too are destined for Country Music, it is in your genes and can’t be denied. You may forestall it for a few more years, but, it will start seeping in and you’ll find yourself saying “that’s actually pretty good”. I was drawn in about a decade ago by the Sirens of Country and now I even like some of the Gents as well.
    Give in to the twang, grasshopper.

    November 2, 2012
  5. I’ve never really liked country music, Andra, but oddly I know of quite a few country singers and have liked some of their songs

    November 2, 2012
    • It’s funny to me that I’m sitting here researching all this music I detested……I didn’t think country would be too popular in England.

      November 2, 2012
  6. Haha. Yes. Yes they do. My dad used to listen to blues. Blues, blues, and more blues. I liked words too much to ever really love that style. They just repeat one line over and over again. Now I look at my iPod and am shocked to find such one-lined music filling it up.

    November 2, 2012
    • Blues……I think we have to get some life experience to appreciate the blues.

      November 2, 2012
  7. I like country music cause it reminds me of my childhood. We had that plastic bubble stuff on our seats…did you ever have to sit on that? Yeah, it was hot and then it would stick to your legs and burn bubbles onto them… However, I’ve never been fond of Willie Nelson…could be his pot smoking and the fact that he doesn’t sing…he talks…not sure…then again, it could be because my Daddy didn’t like him for his pot smoking… I think Daddy is the reason that I never smoked because as I was growing up he’d point to a young lady smoking and say, “Look at that SLUT on that corner of the street smoking that nasty cigarette!” Scared me that he’d think that of me…then again…it could be because I always thought I’d light my hair on fire when I tried to light the cigarette…haha – Oh memories – that’s what country music reminds me of, good and, well, not so good.

    November 2, 2012
    • I love your stories, Lori. I never smoked, either, and I’m glad I never tried it. It hits every nervous habit I have in one package, and I know I would never, ever, ever have been able to stop.

      Here’s to your Daddy.

      November 2, 2012
  8. Alice #

    I think it is in the job description for daddies to imprint music on their children. There are certain Rolling Stones songs that will stop me in my tracks. And “Midnight at the Oasis” by Maria Muldar is a song I wouldn’t twice about if it hadn’t been the soundtrack to many a summer night party on our screen porch. Gordon and Cayleigh have an entire soundtrack of “skating” songs from when they went iced skating every weekend a few summers ago. I am sure those will haunt her long into adulthood.

    November 2, 2012
    • Cayleigh’s taste in music always makes me happy. And now, I’m going to hear “Midnight at the Oasis” in my head every time I sit on that screen porch………

      November 2, 2012
  9. Oh yes they do. I have been living most of my life with a clear idea of how I would not be my father. Only I am him. I AM him. In so many ways. I’m just glad I didn’t do the metaphorical marry your parents thing. Scott is about as different from Dad as night from day.

    November 2, 2012
    • Your dad must have a range of musical interests, given his background. I’m glad I didn’t marry my Dad, either. MTM and Dad are polar opposites in so many ways.

      November 2, 2012
  10. Oh I can remember riding in our big boat Fords having to listen to that horrible country music. We had to go out of town a lot and I just about convulsed during the hour long ride that was about twice a week for years. How uncool it was. And then when I was 18 we moved to Virginia. That was an 8 hour trip!

    What I can’t figure out is how they thought music about drinking, cheating and all of those other messed up lives situations could possibly be a good influence on us. They thought our music was bad!

    November 2, 2012
    • I always wondered that myself. How was it possibly a good example? :)

      November 2, 2012
  11. “I was drunk the day my ma got out of prison”

    November 2, 2012
    • I had discounted this one as a possibility, Robert, because I thought it was released later than October of 1977. But, turns out, it was released in 1975. I remember singing this one a lot as an example of the horrors of country………

      November 2, 2012
      • I was wondering if someone would post this. If no one did, I was going to have to. David Allan Coe is a not necessarily the best person in the world, by a long shot, but he has some cool songs.

        November 2, 2012
      • I *think* this was the song I used to model my own masterpiece, but I clearly remember bellowing this one, too.

        November 2, 2012
  12. Yes, some fathers seem to possess us as adults–at least mine has me these days. I suppose some fathers are stronger “characters” than others. I wasn’t allowed to listen to rock and roll either. But my father was into show tunes–which I still love. I deplore country music, as well.
    Hugs,
    Kathy

    November 2, 2012
  13. Hmm, my comment disappeared. Well, I was saying that my father seems to possess me these days, as well. I wasn’t allowed to listen to rock music either, but my dad was into show tunes, which I still love. Like you, I hate country music.
    Hugs,
    Kathy

    November 2, 2012
    • I love swing bands and crooners because of my Mom. She had a lot of that kind of music when I was little. It’s funny how close music can make us feel.

      November 2, 2012
  14. My Dad’s music shaped me. Profoundly.

    We danced to “Puff the Magic Dragon” at my wedding. There is nothing in the world like Peter, Paul, and Mary. Or Harry Chapin. Simon & Garfunkel, the early BeeGees, the Turtles, the Lovin’ Spoonful…

    And your Dad’s country? That’s the good stuff. Far better than the garbage the CMAs is celebrating. Bah. Grumble grumble, etc.

    November 2, 2012
    • You know, I am so glad you said the last bit. Because, different genres of music used to sound different, and they don’t so much anymore.

      And, I would very much love your Dad’s music. Very much.

      November 3, 2012
  15. Mine’s a Bach freak, Andra: I am not a natural player of baroque music but he worked very hard to make sure I could do JS justice. And yes, Bach carries with him a huge emotional pull because of that.

    November 3, 2012
    • And, Bach Inventions almost made me stop playing piano. I really need to drag them out again, dust them off, and practice. A tribute to your Dad.

      November 3, 2012
  16. I’m happy to report that dad didn’t like country music any better than I do . . . we listened to Jazz, Sax players, Glenn Miller, the Big Bands, etc.. ;)

    November 3, 2012
    • I’m playing Glenn Miller with my left hand now, Nancy…….

      November 3, 2012
      • Sounds like fun.

        November 3, 2012
  17. It’s a good song. I’m with you on country music in general, but I do like bluegrass. Have you ever seen Billy and Hillbillies? Looked forward to seeing them every year at the Puyallup Fair in Washington.

    November 4, 2012
  18. Two words: Johnny Horton. I may never recover from the number of times my father had to play him.

    November 6, 2012
  19. Oh, it’s Honkey Tonkin’ that does it? I remember the hot vinyl seats!

    November 7, 2012

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