Have you ever had two totally random experiences or thoughts converge in your head and the resulting crash was something you just had to write about? Ok, maybe not, but I’ve had a lot of idle thinking time of late.
Experience one: Through Kentucky, Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas, we listened to a lot of country western music. This confirmed the conclusion that I drew this summer as I found myself listening to a local radio station at the cottage that cranked out one hit after another by today’s hottest country stars. I have discovered that any snippet of your life can be put to a melody and called country music; a bit exaggerated here and there, a bit too painful or downtrodden or vengeful for me, but nevertheless, stories of life, and the people who make it interesting. Throw in a steel guitar for a more authentic, old fashioned version if you like.
Experience two: I had a little encounter with a snake in a parking lot in Branson. Oh, it was a small little thing that had been run over multiple times and its iridescent skin was all that was left to give me the willies, but I still took a wide step around it, just in case. In the back of my head, I thought of my mom, and her advice to me every time I encountered a creepy crawly. “Remember, it’s more afraid of you, than you are of it.”
Days later, somewhere in Oklahoma with nothing to see except the trucks on the road, and nothing to hear except Reba, Carrie, Blake, Garth and Miranda on the radio – they love their home grown stars, the song came to me. In that single moment of temporary fear with that overgrown worm called a snake, I had the theme to my own personal country song. And I began to think of all the little white lies and fibs my momma (they are always called momma in country songs) told me as I was growing up. You see, Momma was a liar, but I loved her anyway.
Some, like the “it’s more afraid of you” line, were said in an effort to help make me feel better, and get over a fear. We lived in an old house and it was not uncommon to have a spider. “Spiders are a sign of good air circulation” she’d tell me. I was probably in my 20’s when I discovered that was a good line, but to this day, unless they are big and hairy and in the news, I’m not too afraid of spiders. Score one for mom. It didn’t work for snakes, lizards and mice, however. There is no way they are more afraid of me than I am of them.
Then there were these fibs:
“This is harder for me than it is for you” as privileges were taken away usually due to – oh you name it.
“Your face is going to stay that way.” (Eyes are an easy substitute here.) Numerous situations could have caused this remark but joking with my brother or gagging on lima beans were usually involved.
“No, those bangs aren’t too short” after my teenage sister decided to give me a trim.
“No one will notice those blemishes, really” as I headed out to the eighth grade dance.
Anyway, you get the idea. I’m working on the actual lyrics now, and then, I’m sure the melody will come to me. Today, they may be called mom-isms, but that’s not going to sell any records or get much airtime on the radio. On the other hand, “Momma Was a Liar, But I Loved Her Anyway” should grab their attention.
If you have a little white lie or fib that you have used on your children or grandchildren, or heard from your mother, please share. I think I have a hit on my hands and I promise, when I make it rich, I’ll get that check right in the mail.