If you are like me and listen to the radio in your car or at home, then you’ve heard people calling in to dedicate a song to a loved one who they miss, or just want to know they are thinking about them. Maybe it’s a birthday or an anniversary, whatever the reason there is always someone sending a message to another person through song. This past weekend we celebrated my Daddy’s birthday with pizza, wings and UFC 140. It was a great night filled with lots of laughs which is normal for an event with my Dad, he is hilarious – and this blog is dedicated to him.
I grew up in a house filled with music. I spent Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoons sitting on the floor in our living room with my father standing by the record player, my mother on the couch and records all around me. I remember looking up at my father in complete awe as he would play song after song, from CCR (Creedence Clearwater Revival) to Michael Jackson, Bob Marley to The Guess Who, Prince to Eric Clapton; his musical tastes were always eclectic. He is what I would call a “sound man” loving how the intricacies of the music and harmonies in the voices combined with horns or a great guitar solo could change a mood and add feeling to a song.
I think he has been testing my ear since I was born, often asking me “what do you hear Tera?” and then I would list off all the instruments I could hear in a section of a song he was playing. Or he would say, “listen to those horns Tera, now the bass is going to take over with the piano.” as he waved his hands as if conducting the sounds I was hearing. I think in another life he was a musician, and if he had the money or opportunity to learn as a child he would be a one of the great musicians of today.
I am sometimes treated to the story of the day my parents brought me home from the hospital. My Father made my mother wait in the hall with me while he went into the apartment to cue up The Greatest Love of All, by George Benson. Every major moment of my life is marked by music. My Father is not the type of man to tell you he loves you every day, heck I can only recall 2 times in my life I have heard him say that to me. He’s also not the type of man who cuddled with you (he’s more of a rough and tumble kind of guy) or kiss away your tears, he doesn’t speak that language very well. He uses music to do it. THAT is his language. It may be the lyrics that help him “say” what he wants to say or the feeling the music gives you, whatever it is, my Dad has a talent for picking the right song at the right time.
When my Mom got sick, to let her know he wasn’t going anywhere he played her Shania Twain’s Forever and For Always, the lyrics are:
And there ain’t no way
I’m letting you go now
And there ain’t no way
And there ain’t no how
I’ll never see that day
I’m keeping you forever and for always
we will be together all of our days
Wanna wake-up every morning
to your sweet face always.
When I got married he picked 2 songs for our dance, Ballerina Girl, by Lionel Richie because I was always dancing around the living room as a child and I loved to jump on his feet and dance around with him. The second song was I’ll Always be Right There, by Bryan Adams where the lyrics say:
I swear to you
I will always be there for you
There’s nothing I won’t do
Forever, we will be
Together, a family
The more I get to know ya, nothin’ can compare
With all of my heart, ya know I’ll always be, right there
I guess that is why I have a song that makes me think of my Dad – Into the Mystic, by Van Morrison. It’s not the words in the song, but the feeling. I can literally feel my Dad whenever I hear it and it’s the one song that no matter where I am or what I am doing, when I hear it, I just stop and listen. It’s the wise poignant sounds of the horns, the gentle melodic strumming of the guitar, the cool and soothing sounds of Morrison’s voice that lull you to your safe place.
Words fail sometimes. The voices of your loved ones can get dimmer over time, especially once that loved one is gone. But music is forever. And because my father gave me the gift of music, no matter where I am in this world, and eventually after he is gone, when I hear Into the Mystic, my Daddy, my hero, the man who helped to make me the person I am today will be with me…forever.
Into the Mystic – Van Morrison
I’ll Always Be Right There – Bryan Adams
Ballerina Girl – Lionel Richie
Forever and For Always – Shania Twain
Greatest Love of All – George Benson