Country music

I’m back to listening to country music again. In my younger days, eons and eons ago, it was known as country and western, but in order to keep the political correction fanatics out of my phonetics I’m willing to settle for country music.
My Little Lady loved country and western music. It was just part of her. She loved their lyrics. She played it continually, morning, noon, and night. She hummed many of their tunes. Even when she watched her favourite soaps on TV, it could be heard quietly playing in the background.
I hated it. To me, at one time, it was nothing more than a bunch of somebody-done-somebody-wrong songs being squalled, as though both guitar and singer were in deep pain, as they saturated the airways. I liked what we, back then, referred to as long-hair music. Known to the elite as that of the classical. Being a country raised kid, I know you may wonder how I acquired such taste, but the mother of the farmer next door to the country home where I was raised, would, on occasion, take me down with her to the Stratford Theatre. That was a long model T trek, at a time when few farmers owned cars.
The moniker, long-hair, was so identified by the uncut hair styles of the musicians, but this ID lost favourable acceptance when the rock and rollers of the 1960s dragged their kemp hair styles down over their forehead, their backside, both ears, and out onto the stage.
That was in addition to their wiggling, wailing, and hemp bolstered caterwauling, which accompanied their sexual pantomime gestures. The classical lovers frowned on such brazen antics, and desired no part of this cultural clash or pseudo identification theft.
It was along about that, or some other time, that the country and western singers woke up to the realization that far greater than half of their guitar strumming wailers, were never fortunate enough to get beyond, or west of, the Mississippi river, so the word “western” was dropped, plop, like a doggie-do-bag, from their classification.
Nevertheless, giving credit, where credit is due, and barring their mutilation of the English language, of which I have always felt no discomfort with, they have really come up with, not all, but some really good songs. Some of which have a far reaching, deep set, down to earth composition’ if listened to in proper context.
The reason I am now listening to it is not by mistake, nor was it by plan, suggestion, or accident. It just happened. It’s been now longer than nine months since my Little Lady gained her wings as an angel, and I still miss her. I don’t miss her doing the mundane housework, she taught me well how to manage that. I miss the touch of her hand. I miss her quiet voice of encouragement. I miss her confidence. I miss her subtle sense of humour. I just miss her just being there.
As a result. I was wandering around the house feeling a deep loneliness when my son dropped in from his Markdale farm. While we talked, about the how of training his husky sleigh dogs, I asked him to set up a radio for me in the room where I raise most of my canaries. Canaries love music, they try to drown it out, with their singing. He set up the never-yet-used radio that the Little Lady and I had received as a gift at our 50th wedding anniversary, over two years ago.
Knowing his Mother always listened to country tunes, he automatically tuned it to a station so oriented. In addition, he said, “Dad, I’m going to tune the one in the kitchen to the same station, then you’ll hear either one or both, in stereo, as you wander from one room to the other.” That was good thinking on his part, for whether you, he, or the world at large knows it, or knows it not, that was the key to me overcoming my continued loneliness.
With the music she loved playing quietly in the background, I no longer feel the loneliness quite so overpowering. It’s almost the same as if she were still by my side. Perhaps, maybe, she still so is.
Take care, ’cause we care.  

Barrie Hopkins