38 years ago, when the hubby and I got married, I soon learned that he loved four things: me, football, country music and cars. I’m not sure they actually fell in the order listed, but I always like to think I placed somewhere in the top three at least.
It’s an interesting change to move in with somebody and learn they’re not perfect, as you may have once thought. The other person has things, and worse yet, they want to bring their things to share your space, which means you have less space for your things. Such was the case with this man.
One of the things he insisted we bring into our space was his collection of country music records. For those of you born in the cyberspace generation, records were the recorded music that preceded eight-track tapes, which preceded cassettes, which preceded CD’s. I’ve never thought about it, but I guess before that, there was just sheet music. But I digress, a problem I seem to continue to have from time to time.
Anyway, here in the middle of my Beatles, Dylan, Three Dog Night and Bee Gees were albums of such people as Johnny Horton, Loretta Lynn, George Jones, Charley Pride and somebody called Stonewall Jackson. Showed how knowledgeable I was, I didn’t even know Andrew Jackson had time to make music, much less record it.
And to make matters worse, my new hubby wanted me to actually play these records on the stereo, which meant I had to listen to them, too. What audacity! Who was this man I had invited into my life? Apparently, I fell asleep during the wedding ceremony, because I didn’t remember agreeing to any of this in those vows. I decided it must have been in the “for better or worse” part.
My mother had always been a huge country music fan, although back then she mostly called it hillbilly music. Growing up in our house, there was always music filling the air, mainly because she had one of those record players you stacked albums on, and they dropped down to play continuously. She had listened to a number of these same people that my new hubby liked, a fact which concerned me a little. I mean, how could I have married a man who considered Merle Haggard on a par with Chicago? I decided I must have been in love, or otherwise, this fact would not have escaped my notice while we were dating.
Fortunately, I learned to appreciate his music even though I have to admit I was thoroughly convinced that Nashville must be a hard place to live because these country music people sure led sad lives. They sang a lot about drinking beer, cheating spouses and low-down men. Apparently, women were a bit better back then because not many songs were written about them. Well, of course, except for those ones that kept trying to take men away from Loretta Lynn and Tammy Wynette. And I don’t even know if those women are still around because that Loretta threatened them so much in her songs. That little woman sounded like she could take care of anyone, anytime. Of course, after seeing “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” I could see she pretty much had her hands full with her own hubby.
But after a while, I decided country music wasn’t so bad after all. As a matter of fact, after you grow a little older and life bashes you around a bit, you sort of relate to a lot of what they’re talking about, well, in the older country music anyway.
I don’t listen to much of the country music today because it’s just different. Oh, I don’t guess there’s anything wrong with it, and I’ll admit there’s a few that I enjoy, but it’s just not the same to me. To me, it seems to be based more on showmanship than just belting out that heartbreak song that makes one shed those tears into their beer sitting in the local joint. Besides, it’s hard to believe those singers dressed to the nines looking gorgeous when they tell me someone’s stolen their man or woman. Give me a Loretta standing her ground, showing me her fist, and telling me I ain’t woman enough to take her man. That I can believe.