I’m a huge fan of music, and its many genres.
And because music affects my moods – or maybe it’s vice versa – I tend to binge on an artist for days at a time.
The first time I heard Beyonce’s Lemonade album, I was hard to be around for a couple weeks because I wanted to get in Formation and talk about Becky with the good hair.
I act like I’m Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers if I listen to too much Maroon 5; and I am the most empathetic being on the planet after a day with Adele.
Last week, after meeting Lynyrd Skynyrd and Carlo, I was feeling a particular amount of southern pride and gorged myself on their music, with T for Texas hitting me in feels.
Of course it did.
This week began my in-car relationship with John Mellencamp, which has made me nostalgic, particularly about my early days in Iowa Park.
I made out to many of his songs when I was in high school, because that’s about all there was to do in small town, USA, on non-football game nights. But that is both a different and highly-edited column.
Coincidentally, his song Small Town is what made me think of Iowa Park – both how it was when I was growing up, and now – in that our town can be incredibly simple and charming.
My friend, Gary, was talking to me this week about growing up in the 1970s on Kathleen Street, just off the access road.
He said the place to be back then was the ditch between his street and Louisa. It was where he and several others I know spent vast amounts of time swimming after a rain; building forts when it was dry; and reading girlie magazines and committing other nefarious acts undetected.
They are likely the reason parents today are worried their kid will end up in a ditch.
I don’t see kids in ditches here so much these days. Probably because we have a top-notch water park and beautiful lake with a walking track, playground, basketball court and pavilion in our town now. Our city is literally keeping kids out of the ditches, in my opinion … good work, city and taxpayers.
But back in those days, without video games, cable TV or computers, our version of Facetime was showing up at a friend’s house in the morning while their parents were at work to eat burritos and watch Green Acres before the swimming pool opened. That’s what I was doing, anyhow.
We played on our neighborhood streets in the evening like small, harmless gangs organizing pickup football and baseball, until just past dusk when our parents forced us back inside.
Things are different now, only not so different.
We have nicer public offerings for our youth, for sure. Also, technology, social media and summer sports camps have changed what summer looks like in communities like ours, at least on the outside.
But our youth still need contact, fun and room to grow, which they still get even if they aren’t getting it in a ditch or from watching Green Acres.
The same, but different.
Thank you, John Mellencamp, for the reminder of my years on earth, and particularly in this small town.