A Little Bit Country

I told you in a blog post six or seven months ago that I listen only to sports radio in my car. What I have subsequently learned is that I listen to sports radio in my car mostly during football season, and mostly when I’m in Denver. In fact, I haven’t yet quite figured out which radio stations are sports stations here in AZ. We have three or four in Denver, and given the fervor of sports fans in the Phoenix area, I would assume there are several here as well.

So what I find myself listening to in its stead is country music. If you would have told me, say, 30 years ago that I would ever be listening to country music, I would have been quite surprised. I’m not sure why, because beginning in my late 20s and early 30s, I listened to a lot of music from groups like the Eagles, Poco, and Pure Prairie League, all of which are just a hair away from country music.

As I got older, I found myself listening to groups like the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. I became more and more drawn to bluegrass artists such as Alison Krauss and Rhonda Vincent. I even found I liked Johnny Cash. Yes, folks. I heard the train a’comin’. It was about then that I figured I needed a support group.

Hi, my name is Kris. (Hi Kris.) I like country music. (The first step is admitting you have a problem. And at least you can have a shot and a beer with your music.)

Now there’s almost no country music I won’t listen to.  I’m a country music ho.

Perhaps even more surprising, however, is that my sister Bec has also become a fan of country music, something I would never have thought would happen. I’m not certain, but I don’t even think it was a gradual thing for her. She simply moved to Arizona and turned on KMLE Country @107.9, and the rest is history. Thankfully, the only pickup truck in her family belongs to her son.

I like her explanation, however. She is nostalgic about the music we used to listen to when we were in high school and college. You know, love songs. Songs that told a story. Songs you could sing along with and not be embarrassed to say the words. Nowadays the music consists mostly of electronic sounds and heavy rhythm. And you can sing along, but you better not let your mom hear you.

Country singers still talk about love. Oh, it might be in the back of a pick-up truck while drinking a beer, but there’s usually a degree of romance involved. And some of the titles are clever enough to make me laugh out loud.

Take these for example…..

I’m So Miserable Without You It’s Like Having You Here (Billy Ray Cyrus)
I Still Miss You Baby But My Aim’s Getting Better (Lynn Anderson)
Money Can’t Buy Everything (But It Could Buy Me a Boat) (Chris Janson)

And my new personal favorite

You Look Like I Need a Drink (Justin Moore)

One more thought about music, however. I often say that while I can’t remember the name of my doctor, I can remember the words to every single song released in the 1960s and 70s. And they were all so innocent, I go on to say.

The other day Bill and I were having coffee at the Starbucks in our nearby grocery store and the Muzak was playing 60s music. A familiar song came on and I began singing it quietly under my breath. Suddenly, perhaps for the first time ever, I actually paid attention to the words. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m now a grandmother, but I was disgruntled.

Here are a few of the lyrics from Young Girl by Gary Puckett and the Union Gap:

Young girl, get out of my mind, my love for you is way out of line, better run girl, you’re much too young, girl. So hurry home to your mama, I’m sure she wonders where you are, get out of here before I have the time to change my mind…..

The Union Gap present day. They're old guys, just like us!

The Union Gap present day. They’re old guys, just like us!

Sigh. Maybe we weren’t so innocent.

Cool at Night

Indian summer is on its way
It’s cool at night and hot all day
Ain’t no black clouds filled with rain
Santa Ana wind blew them all to Maine. — Written by Kelly Jones, performed by Poco

According to Wikipedia, Indian summer is a period of unseasonably warm, dry weather that sometimes occurs in autumn in the Northern Hemisphere. The US National Weather Service defines this as weather conditions that are sunny and clear with above normal temperatures, occurring late-September to mid-November. It is usually described as occurring after a killing frost.

Well, I don’t really care what the definition of Indian Summer is according to Wikipedia, because in my book, Indian Summer begins just as soon as the days are still hot but the nights are cool. When I need to put on an extra blanket at night if my window is open, why then it’s Indian Summer. That’s what the country rock group Poco told me back in 1977, with the release of their song Indian Summer off their album by the same name.

And, by the way, under the rare circumstances when I hear the song, I am immediately transported back to the University of Colorado and I am 24 years old. But I digress.

It might not yet be Indian Summer — either by Wikipedia’s definition or Poco’s — but man-oh-man, you can feel it coming. It’s in the air.

Court told me on Sunday that September is his favorite month. I know exactly what he means. While I don’t love that the days are getting shorter, I do love that the nights are getting cooler. While I don’t love that my petunias are looking leggy and I keep forgetting to water them, I do love that the tomatoes are starting to ripen and I have been able to eat some of my homegrown jalapenos. While I don’t love that seeing my grandkids is mostly limited to weekends because they are all back or almost back in school, I do love that down to each and every last one, they were all excited for school to start.

Can you tell?………………………………

addie first day of school 2015

Addie starts 7th grade.

Alastair starts 5th grade; Dagny starts 4th grade; Maggie Faith starts 2nd grade.

Kaiya starts 2nd grade.

Kaiya starts 2nd grade.

Mylee starts kindergarten.

Mylee starts kindergarten.

Indian Summer aside, I will tell you that there was never a year – not a single year – that I looked forward to being back in school. I disliked school from kindergarten through graduate school. Even getting new crayons and the smell of the mimeographed papers we were given on the first day didn’t offset my reluctance to hear the school bells ring that first time. But at least we didn’t start until after Labor Day. So, while I’m delighted they are happy to be back, I will miss seeing as much of the grandkids as I did this summer.

1378403626000-NUP-156962-1336-rAs I said, I understand why Court likes September. I think fall is my favorite season. I love the changing colors. Jen and I always make a trip in the fall to listen to the elk bugle in Rocky Mountain National Park, and this year Bec will be joining us. And, of course, there’s football. If you are a sports fan at all, you can’t help but get excited at hearing Carrie Underwood sing about waitin’ all day for Sunday night. And if you can boast the fact that your major league baseball team is the very worst in the United States, you can’t help but be ready for some football.

If only winter didn’t follow fall. Still, it’s hard to complain when you spend the bulk of winter in Arizona!