Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Try to Remember

We had a stentorious stereo when I was a child--wickery front, gleaming mahogany casing that showed small sticky fingerprints, a shelf for storing your martini supplies. A real piece of furniture, stalwart, massive, serious. That's where I heard all the music that turned me into such a lover of music, although some of the things I loved then I'm utterly embarrassed to admit now. (Maybe after another glass of this impertinent Grauburgunder). One could imagine listening to Winston Churchill on it.

When I was first read Cinderella, I imagined Patti Page as my fairy godmother--her butterscotch voice instantly soothed bee stings, sunburn, Donny Bowhay's wandering six-year-old eye. Moms spoke like that on television but rarely on Glenview Crescent, where "I'll skin you alive" and "who do you think you are?"were the most common things I remember hearing, and not just in my house, either. I recall sitting quietly behind the green brocade curtains in the living room, listening to "Try to Remember" at about age 7 and already feeling nostalgic for something I wouldn't experience for another 20 years. (I just found out that Tom Jones wrote the lyrics. That's mad.) You can email Miss Patti at, if you'd care to. I believe I will. It will be like emailing the Pope, but the Pope in a champagne gown.

I'd be a regular church goer again if we got to wear stuff like that. You Cardinals in the audience, listen up. I don't need to be ordained (although that would be nice), I just want to dress up in something at least as fancy as the stuff you all get to wear. When I'm Pope, I'm turning all of you into Bluebirds. You are on notice.

Anyhow, back to matters at hand. I was just trying out Ping, the new iTunes feature, and it wanted to know what my favorite 10 songs were. I entered 10, but, truth be told, they're not the ten that, in moments of pain or fear or panic--when I require the comfort of music--leap into my mind. Those would include "Song Sung Blue," "I Wanna Sing You a Love Song," "Mockingbird Hill," "Hang down your head, Tom Dooley," "Lemon Tree," "Yellow Bird," and "Let it Be."  And just for the sake of adding two more, I'll go with this song we sang in church, the name of which I don't know, but was about there being a long long road to freedom; and "Silent Night."

I think about things like this when Lief is in the station wagon with me, listening to such things as Franz Ferdinand's "Do You Want To." Will he, at the unimaginable age of 47, feel sorrow or regret or nostalgia and immediately hear "your famous friend, well I blew him before you, yeah" running through his mind?

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