Plato once said, “Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and gaiety to life and everything.” Indeed. Those you who have found nirvana (no, not the band) through music, no matter what genre, will get the gist of the following story.
I consider myself an adult. Somewhere between 40 and 80, mother of two, full-time employee, loving wife, devoted mother, and average housekeeper. Mature enough to deal with menopause, bounced checks, bosses, brother-in-laws, burned food on the grill and late night (no night) kids. Yet now and then this immaturity creeps up on me.
‘Cuz I’m as free as a bird, now — and this bird you cannot chain —
Is there ever a ceiling to age? Is there ever an end to being young? Is there ever a reason to give up the magic of who we were — and who we still are?
If I stay here with you, now — things just couldn’t be the same — ‘Cuz I’m as free as a bird now — how bout you? — and this bird you’ll never chain —
It started one Saturday evening. The college kid was out for the night, the married son busy with his lovely wife and lovely baby, the house was fairly clean, the garbage taken out. Thunderstorms started to move in, threatening my evening of television. A movie, then. After ten minutes I was bored and antsy. Something was brewing. I just knew it.
“Let’s listen to some music,” I said to my husband, my foot bouncing with nervous energy.
“Like what?” he asked, picking up on the electricity in the tone of my voice.
“Well…how about a little Lynyrd Skynyrd?”
For those of you living on another planet, Lynyrd Skynyrd was a great country-rock band from the 70’s. So I innocently picked a song. Sweet Home Alabama. Suddenly all madness broke loose. My husband and I became…possessed. That’s the only way I can describe it. Sweet Home Alabama lead to the famous Free Bird.
Won’t you fly … freeeee bird…
We cranked up the stereo.
dede WA WA wonnca wonnca … WA WA wonnca wonnca …WA WA wonnca wonnca … wonnca wonnca … wonnca wonnca ….
Suddenly there were no middle-aged people lying around watching TV — there was only this young guy with long, full, bushy hair and a wild-looking woman with dark curls and big glasses dancing around the room, playing an air guitar or, worse yet, an air keyboard.
Daaaa du da-du-dada, Daaaa du da-du-dada, Daaaa du da-du-dada, Daaaa du da-du-dada …
We cranked it up, our eyes closed until the end of the song. Before we knew it, listening to music became a contest. Taking Care of Business. Flirtin’ With Disaster. Whole Lotta Rosie. Dancing in front of the speakers, shaking our booties in over-sized t-shirts and shorts. My husband ran to get the next song. Dream On. A slow song. I grabbed him and we slow danced in the middle of the living room floor. Slow with a rocky beat. Soon enough the song was over. Enough mellowness. I put on Walk this Way, and we sashayed across the floor, strutting like young dudes and dudettes. Another rock song followed, then another. My turn! I laughed and ran and picked out Fool for the City. My husband followed with Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting. Oh oh oh! My turn! Oh no! The song I wanted was not on that CD! Drats! I ran around, picking another rocking tune. The speakers were so loud they made the amplifier shut down. We had to shut it off and turn it on again. Couldn’t miss any of this song!
My husband put on a slow, country-rockish tune. Highway Song. I pulled him to the middle of the living room floor and we started to slow dance again. Suddenly the song picked up tempo, another moment lost in a guitar riff. We danced faster, laughing, hugging, trying to keep up with the increased tempo.
The phone rang — our oldest. Great. Hi, howya doing…how’s grandbaby..oh? …yeah…yeah…gotta go…see ya tomorrow… and we ran back to the stereo. We needed more rock and roll! We moved forward in the time warp we had created. A bit of heavy metal, Metallica, vibrated the plant atop the speaker. By the second song my head was beginning to throb. Perhaps we moved too far forward. We found another beboppy tune, Kryptonite…
If I go crazy then will you still call me Superman …
The two of us, married over 30 years, sat on the sofa, bellowing out the lyrics of this song as if we were both on stage. The dogs came out to see what the loud voices were all about, then, deciding we were harmless, went back downstairs.
As our energy slowly ebbed, our choices changed. The ache in his elbow returned, my sinus headache from the rain outside demanded aspirin. We pulled out a few more mellow oldies, letting the clock tick away both forwards and backwards.
Our hearts are in the music; our lives entwined with hair bands and bald bands and country rock bands and everything in-between. We have grown up on music, have cherished it like an old friend and have never let it stray far from our world. Music has set us on fire and soothed our souls. It has brought back memories, tears and laughter; it has set the stage, not only for what has been, but for what will be.
Bob Seeger ended our time traveling for the evening. Turn the Page.
Here I go … on the road again … Here I am … turn the page….
My husband pulled me up for one last slow dance. We were 20 again, 20 going on 40 going on 60 going on 20. There is no such thing as age, only a state of mind. We “turn the page” in our lives every night we go to sleep, every morning we wake. We hummed the last few stanzas of the song, knowing our own pages were turning way too fast. I told myself I would make the most of every moment, every song, every slow dance. Every wa wa wonnca wonnca. I would turn up the volume of my life and dance with the gifts I have been given. One day my kids will understand — one day when their own pages start to turn.
Until then, it is our stereo … our rock and roll … and my turn….