There are little things that hit you, smack like a steam-roller out of thin air when you least expect them, that send you back to where you came from or who you were so long ago that you almost believe even the memory of that person couldn’t possibly exist anymore.
For me it has always been country songs. Old ones. Good ones. From when “Country Wasn’t Cool” as Barbara Mandrell put it. (Ironically she sang that at around the time that most of the songs that do it to me were still being sung.)
We were raised on Country Sunshine (why stop quoting those old songs now, when I am doing so well?) my sister and I. Colorado 56KLZ cooed from every (AM only) radio anywhere in our tiny formative little earshot when we very young. We knew every word to every song. We were wiggling in our seats at that same radio station’s annual free family concerts in the Coliseum when I was still too light to keep the fold-down seat from folding up on me. When Willie explained that his heroes had always been cowboys, I understood it, and when Waylon warned “Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys,” I took it as a dare.
I knew where I was going – it was all explained in those songs. I was sure. Look at this picture of me on a trip with my daddy and some friends to visit my (at the time) dream school, West Texas A&M during my Junior year of high school:
Long ago and far away. (I did marry a Texan, though, if that helps my case for kissing that rock.)
But there are times when I still give into that girl. There are days I still pull on those boots, or catch a glimpse of the “Bull Riders Only Bull” tattooed on my shoulder in the mirror and smile. Even now, oh-so-urban-Keri is only one chorus of “Amarillo by Morning” away from letting her mind wander way back when.
I’m glad she is in there. I’m glad I go “Diggin’ Up Bones” (thanks Randy) some nights… That little girl was fearless. I want her with me always.