Time--2017 A to Z Theme

My theme for the 2017 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge was "Time". The posts are of a more philosophical, contemplative, and even autobiographical bent. No time management tips in this theme, but stuff intended to make you think.

Always a work in progress--welcome to my blog...

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Friday, August 11, 2017

Why Did You Like That?

Why do we like things that we like?  I often wonder about the answer to this question while at other times I can bring some of the answer into focus...


Photo by Arlee Bird

       
           We'd left at daybreak after a divine night's sleep at the Holiday Inn of Poplar Bluff, Missouri.  It had been quite some time since I'd stayed at a Holiday Inn and my wife and I were pleasantly surprised by the amenities of this location.  We had retired early after another wonderful day of our vacation which was now within a couple days of ending.  Our home beckoned, and though our trip had been nearly perfect in every way, we were now anxious to get back to our own bed.   Beautiful as it was, vacation was now over aside from the remaining days of intense driving.

        Could we have asked for a better morning than that last Saturday in July 2017?   Sure, but I don't know what improving a fine morning like that one would look like.  The temperature was in the mid-seventies at five in the morning, promising another hot day that we would mostly experience in the air conditioned comfort of our van.  A McDonald's near the Holiday Inn was already opened so that we could grab some breakfast at the drive through.  They didn't have have the coffee drink that I had wanted so I settled for a mocha frappe.  Adding a hash brown and a sausage biscuit made it a combo.

        As I negotiated my way to Highway 60, I nibbled on a hot greasy block of the potato substance they called hash browns.  After I'd found 60 I attempted to consume a rubbery sausage biscuit that apparently had been sitting around far too long.  I managed my way through half of the biscuit before stuffing in the bag my wife had saved for trash.  No matter though, since the quick breakfast was mostly a matter of keeping my blood sugar stable.  And the drive looked like it was going to be a good one.

         U.S. Highway 60 was a far nicer road than I had expected--a divided four lane highway with little traffic on this Saturday morning.  A perfect morning for driving, yes it was, and we were passing through the beautiful rolling hills of the Missouri Ozarks.  Like most of my days driving I started out by listening to the news on satellite radio.  After about an hour into the drive I decided to see what I could pick up on regular AM radio.  There were was a local trading post type show where people would call in to sell things.  Next came some sports show where I had no idea what the guys were talking about.  Then came the music that has been my fixation for the past two weeks.

        Like synchronicity, the song started right at the beginning and from that start I was captivated.  The instrumental ensemble had an orchestral sound though it was probably a septet.   It was my kind of music.  After a very short lead-in, a smooth female voice entered with the lyrics.  For  a moment I thought the song might be a Contemporary Christian song, but I soon decided it was not.  There was a jazziness to the music.   Through the static and radio distance--I'm guessing the station was coming from Springfield--the song sounded old--well, like certain music from the sixties.  The song was one that I had no recollection of ever having heard.

        As the song played on the radio, a vast panorama of scenic wonder surrounded us and the day was as beautiful as any best memory of childhood.  My thoughts turned to the extent that my life was blessed and all of the potential that might be still ahead.  My wife too seemed to be in a reverie.  I mentioned how beautiful I thought the song was with a side hope that someone would tell the artist and song title at the end.  I got the artist at least.

         I figured that if I still remembered the song when I got home I could look up the artist and figured that on YouTube I'd find the song even though I'd forgotten the lyrical content.  It didn't take me long to find it, but that's not the point of this post.  My point is to pose the question of why that song suddenly appealed to me so much that in that one listening it became a part of me.   Now that song is part of  my life soundtrack.   I will always associate the song with an amazing moment in the time that I've spent on this Earth.

         Certainly I was attracted to the type of song as well as the style of music.  The players were good and I really liked the singer.  But the song seemed to connect well with the sentiments of that particular morning--going home after an extraordinary vacation.  And there was the weather, the geography, road conditions, and good company.   It was just my wife and I driving through the Ozarks on our way home.  And now I have a song that plays behind that scene.

          What was the song? you might ask.

          Ah, that's what this is about.  In researching the song I found a surprise that might reflect how out of touch with more recent music I am.  Anyway, the song will be revealed in my upcoming Battle of the Bands post next Tuesday August 15th.  The surprise that I found in my research demanded that this song be my next Battle.  I'm so obsessed with it.

           What is a song that you became obsessed with for a period?   Do you still ever listen to AM radio?    Does listening to music through faint static or distortion affect your perception of what you are hearing?  






     






46 comments:

  1. Wonderful thoughtful post Lee, as a lover of music there is not one particular song or tune I've been obssessd with.Though as you know I do like Daniel O Donnell.
    Have a great week-end.
    Yvonne.

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    1. Yvonne, I will often obsess for a period on certain songs, but preferably I listen to a wide range of tunes.

      Lee

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  2. Sometimes a song will latch onto a moment and both will stay with us forever. That's the power of music.

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    1. Alex, music has a mystery behind its power and I'm not sure anyone has adequately unveiled that mystery. But the mysteries are as probably diverse as the range of listeners to the music.

      Lee

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  3. Music plays such an important role in our memories, doesn't it? ☺ I've been obsessed with so many songs over the years. This was a delightful read and I love your style of writing, Lee. Sounds like you had a fabulous vacation! I'm intrigued about the song in question and look forward to your BOTB post.

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    1. Debbie D, thank you for your encouragement through your kind words. I'll be interested to see how many will know the song that I've chosen.

      Lee

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    1. CW, it's not my first and probably won't be my last.

      Lee

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  5. One morning, I got obsessed with "Breakout" by Swing Out Sister, and just kept playing it over and over in the car. I was having a tough time at work and it just spoke to me.

    I don't listen to much radio, period, although I've been using the Simple Radio app and picking up stations all over the world. When we took road trips, I would occasionally scan the AM band and sometimes pick up a good station. Being at home (or within five miles) all the time, I don't really have much of a reason to listen, and Mary doesn't like having the radio on while she drives.

    Static drives me crazy. I'll try flipping around to find a better station if I start getting a lot of static.

    Looking forward to seeing what you have on Tuesday. Reminds me I need to set my battle up...

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    1. John, "Breakout" is a good song so I can understand becoming temporarily obsessed with it. I usually don't listen to the radio unless I'm driving and then it's usually to the news or classical music. I do enjoy checking AM radio when I'm traveling in order to get a bit of "local flavor" you might call it. Excessive static would be mostly unbearable to me, but the ambient gentle static of a distant station is kind of appealing to me as long as it doesn't distort what is being broadcast. My station "seek" function doesn't work unless a signal is strong enough to receive and when that is the case then the annoying static isn't present.

      Lee

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  6. Suspicious Minds - Elvis Presley is the King of Rock n Roll and always will be in my book.

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    1. Spacer Guy, "Suspicious Minds" is a great song--one of Presley's best in my opinion. I don't usually listen to much Elvis.

      Lee

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  7. Your story here makes the point of exactly why I love music: music seals time. It preserves it to be enjoyed at another time. That little block of sealed time that music unwraps can immediately bring us back precisely to that three or so minutes when we heard the song or, in a larger context, can transport us to a whole other era in our life. To me, music is time-travel. I love it!

    I can't wait to hear the song that so captivated you on your trip back home. Sounds like you had a wonderful vacation. Glad to hear it.

    Michele at Angels Bark

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    1. Michele, I agree with the music time machine allusion. Sometimes music is just there while at other times music is so amazingly present that it stays with us in some way for as long as we live.

      Our trip this year was so great--but every year I seem to think that.

      Lee

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  8. Absolutely obsessed -- sometimes it seems a song pops up at exactly the right moment when the melody stirs the soul and the lyrics fit the moment. There have been lots of those songs over the years...the first one that popped into my head was the original "Total Eclipse of the Heart."

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    1. Patricia, when the music is right at just the right moment then it's like magic. That moment can be soul changing if not life changing--albeit in a usually little way, but there nevertheless.

      Lee

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  9. The entire drive, I was waiting for the other shoe to drop, the 'but' or 'that's when'. So glad it never happened!

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    1. Jacqui, every journey I've taken could be seen as one of epic proportions. The story of life. This story ended in a good way and hopefully the life collection of stories will be even better.

      Lee

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  10. There are a few songs like that for me, Joe Jackson "Stepping Out" is one, Billy Ocean's "Caribbean Queen" is another. I can't stand the radio, they play the same songs over and over and definitely can't handle static. Most of the time when we are driving we listen to my iTunes mix on my phone. Great post, Arlee. Sounds like you had a marvelous vacation! Looking forward to seeing what the special song was for you!

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    1. Janet, I don't listen to any particular radio station because of that playlist syndrome. I hop the dial and create my own mix. I'll be interested to see how many readers of my next post will know the song.

      Lee

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  11. Wow, Arlee, you weren't kidding when you said that our posts were quite similar (I'm summarizing here). It truly is amazing how songs can evoke such powerful memories for us or mark a particular time in our lives...even when that song came from a different decade. Awesome!

    Elsie

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    1. Elsie, this music thing is one that most of us experience many times in life. I find it difficult to imagine a life without musical mileposts.

      Lee

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  12. Songs sure can latch on to our mind and stay there. I tend to avoid the radio, same songs over and over again and same friggin ads over and over and over again.

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    1. Pat, I could do without the ads most of the time. I never stay on a station to hear songs repeated--at least not on the same day.

      Lee

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  13. There are so many songs that bring back specific memories, that's for sure.

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    1. JoJo, if I were to make a list it would likely be a very long list that I'd keep adding to as I thought of more songs. I'm sure it's the same for you.

      Lee

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  14. Three of my absolute favorites remind me of my dad in one form or another: "When The Stars Begin To Fall" by The Seekers; "Country Roads" by John Denver; "Flowers On The Wall" by The Statler Bros.

    As for AM radio, I listen to it all the time, as AM is where you'll find 98% of sports broadcasts these days. I also like listening to sports talk radio and talk radio in general, but the later has been impossible as of late since the AM stations in my state usually broadcast hardcore right-wing, which to me is a severe turnoff (not a Democrat mind you). The one right-of-center talk show I like listening to unfortunately is a on a major radio that starts interupping the show starting @ 4p with traffic/news/weather/ads every 8 minutes during rush hour, which makes it virtually impossible for the host to get any steam going on a topic (by the time they come out of the break, he has about two minutes of air before they go right back into a break).

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    1. GB, in the right regions you can still pick up an interesting array of AM stations. Sometimes there is virtually nothing which is when the SAT radio comes in nicely.

      Lee

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  15. Well you missed me again. I drive down 60 Hwy often. The trading post broadcasts are often. I remember listening to them when I was a young adult, before Craigslist and FB swap pages. Missouri is a beautiful state with lush vegetation. Quite pretty. There are some not so beautiful things, but I'll keep them thar things a secret. -T

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    1. Teresa, yeah, we were passing through your territory. Maybe someday we won't be in such a hurry.

      I was savoring the last lush expanse of green before we'd leave the east. I miss big rivers too.

      Lee

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  16. LEE, I know the feeling you're talking about very well as I've experienced it many times myself. It's a "Magical Moment", and when you find that you've unexpectedly fallen into one, it sticks with you a long time, if not for a lifetime.

    One that really stands out for me occurred in either 1981 or '82. I can't remember now why I happened to be on this road at the time, but I guess I had gone somewhere for something.

    Then again, I may have just been driving. I used to do that back then. I'd just get in my car and start driving with no destination in mind. Just cruisin' alone with my thoughts and waiting to see where I'd wind up.

    Sometimes if I happened to wake up in the middle of the night, rather than try to get back to sleep, I'd get in my car and just start driving around Los Angeles while it was asleep.

    Anyway, it wasn't sunset yet, but it was that "golden hour" late in the day as the Sun is making its way down to the horizon and you start getting those long shadows. I was driving Westbound on Imperial Highway toward the ocean and listening to some AM station that played oldies.

    I was in that stretch of the highway not far from the beach where there wasn't much built -- just a lot of undeveloped land. (It's probably filled with buildings by now.) And the song "DON'T LET THE SUN CATCH YOU CRYING" by Jerry And The Pacemakers came through my radio speakers. With the Sun heading down toward the sea, it was a perfect melancholy moment.

    And, as I recall, the very next song they played was 'LIKE TO GET TO KNOW YOU' by Spanky And Our Gang. I had never heard the song before nor ever heard of the group. But it was like a Double Whammy MAGICAL MELANCHOLY MOMENT that will stand out in my mind until the day I die.

    Not long later, I found out who that second group was and THAT was what started my interest in Spanky And Our Gang. I immediately purchased the only album that seemed available at that time, which was their "Greatest Hit(s)" collection.

    I'm looking forward to finding out what this song you discovered is on the 15th.

    ~ D-FensDogG
    [Link:) Stephen T. McCarthy Reviews...

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    1. STMcC, that was the kind of radio line-up I had that morning--"Wichita Lineman", "Evergreen", and a mix of other melancholy songs nice for a relaxing drive.

      Back when gas was much cheaper and time seemed more abundant, my friends and I would spend hours driving hither and yon. Then I was fortunate to latch on to traveling jobs for about 15 years. Traveling is in my blood, but I like having a home base too.

      I'll be interested in your reaction to the song and to the versions I've picked.

      Lee

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  17. Driving along the 60, through some of the most beautiful in America, with that song, you surely were seeing the best life can offer.

    I grew up in Illinois, just across the River, and drove along the 60. Sigh.

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    1. Susan, then you know one of our destinations on that trip. I'll be doing a blog post about my visit to Cairo, IL in the next few weeks. In the mid-seventies I used to spend a lot of time in southern Illinois. I like that part of the country.

      Lee

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  18. The other day I was radio surfing and 3 songs from a long time ago came up one after the other - and I felt happy! Looking forward to seeing what the one is for you Arlee, tomorrow!

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    1. Susan Scott, amazing how music can change a mood. I've had that happen so often and I'm thankful when it does happen.

      Lee

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  19. Lee,

    Eating fast food is something we rarely do but during DH's off time from work we decided to visit a few spots again just for the fun of it. Before I exited the job force in 1988, we sometimes stopped at Hardee's because they were our favorite biscuit sandwich place. In our experimentation, which took us a couple of weeks to finish we tried the usual places, McDonald's, Chick-fil-a, Burger King, and Hardee's. We tried to replicate our order each time at each restaurant for comparison which usually consisted of a sausage biscuit, hash browns, and coffee. Everything about McDonald's was not good even their coffee. How do you screw up coffee? Burger King was a little better and Chick-Fil-A was better than Burger King and 10x better than McDonald's. It was Hardee's who proved after all these years to still be our favorite. Back in the day, McDonald's was a thousand times better than they are now. This company has slipped drastically from their lofty status of they hey days in my opinion. The biggest problem with all of the biscuits we had was they are too sweet. Why do they put sugar in their mix is beyond my comprehension! I prefer my homemade biscuits over fast-order biscuits any day but it's fun to get breakfast on the go on occasions. Now back to your morning drive out of Missouri. You had me right there in the car with you and your darling wife enjoying the beautiful start, sipping coffee, and eating...well, we won't talk about that again while finding something interesting to listen to on the radio. The only time I listen to the radio is when we're in the car if I haven't nodded off. I'm like a kid in that regard, especially if we're taking a long drive then I get sleepy and soon my eyes shut. I wouldn't enjoy listening to a static-y station. It would drive me insane. I have had songs to play over the air that called out to me like the one you're speaking of and if I have service on my phone then I'll Google it or else I have to wait until we get home. I try to make a note with key words of it on my phone so to not forget. You've got me curious as to what song mesmerized you so that you've decided to use it in the upcoming BoTB. I will certainly venture over to listen and vote. I am not pulling any showdowns together until mid-September, since I've been taking the summer off from blogging for the most part. It's been really nice, too. I'll see you on the 1st if not before then, my friend. Have a good day!

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    1. Cathy, I always have looked forward to getting Hardee's biscuits when I go back east, but in the past couple of years even they have disappointed me. Maybe my taste for fast food is going away or maybe they are just all getting worse. Still, we will often get fast food because it sounds good--I'm usually disappointed.

      Too much static is usually unbearable to me, but in the case I've described the "static" was a consistent ambient background noise that seemed more faraway than intrusive. Sometimes those radio noises enhance the listening experience for me as long as they are not overbearing to the point of annoyance.

      Lee

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  20. Why do we like what we like is a great question. I'm just glad we do like different things, because imagine how boring life would be if we all liked the same things.

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    1. Finn, thank goodness for variety, but still I'm sometimes disappointed when I'm really into something and no one else can feel it like I do.

      Lee

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  21. Oh sure. Keep us in suspense.
    In the last two weeks a new song crept in and eclipsed the one that had hung in my head (and heart) for ages. I guess it was time for a different personal theme song.
    I've always been torn between which is better: Going away? Or coming home? Your trip home sounds as wonderful as I hope your vacation was ;-)
    Can't wait to see your next BOTB!

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    1. Diedre, there is something to be said for both leaving and returning. Home is a nice place to be, but traveling and visiting is fun and exciting. Maybe I need to get rid of roots and buy an RV.

      I tend to go in song cycles. I'll fixate on a song, an album, or some particular artist for a period until something new comes to take its place.

      Lee

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  22. I honestly can't remember the last time I've listened to anything AM, other than accidentally getting onto that side of the dial before going back to FM. I'd always assumed it mostly has news shows and obscure things on it these days, since all the major radio stations and programs are FM.

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    1. Carrie-Anne, since I grew up listening to AM, revisiting and exploring that bandwidth can be an nostalgic adventure. There is still some good music to be found on AM radio, but you often have to search a while to find it and in some geographic areas that music probably isn't on the AM radio.

      Lee

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  23. As I kept reading I was waiting for IT to happen. The travel fail. Wrong turn on the highway, flat tire, choking on that disgusting sausage (should have gotten breakfast at Starbucks), but no. Peaceful, easy feeling, pun intended.
    Can't wait for the song to be revealed!

    I do have a road trip song like that. It's "touched by an angel" by Gloria Estefan, driving from Key West back to Miami.

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    1. Tamara, the song is revealed in my next post. I've certainly had those bad travel experiences, but thankfully on that day and the other days of this year's vacation all went well.

      Lee

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Lee