This week I was challenged by a fellow “Random Fiver” to use the Random 5 to spell out the soundtrack to my life. I gave it some thought. Not enough to want this to be completely set in stone, but enough to post it here. I’ve decided that I’ll list five phases of my life and the accompanying music. There is always music.
1. Most of the Fellow Adventurers who know me in real life would not be surprised if my entire list was composed of U2 songs. Yes, U2 is so much threaded through the moments of my life that it would be impossible to make a list without it. I’m going to try to limit it here, though, save for one song: “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.” It’s a song about the search for meaning. This song ran in and out of the melody of my college years. I listened to it as I trekked across Europe for the first time, the week I turned 21. I listened to it the morning I graduated from college and moved back in with my parents. Every single note of it was so true. I knew the lines
“You broke the bonds
And you loosed the chains
Carried the cross of my shame
Oh my shame, you know I believe it.”
And I did believe in The One who had done those things, but I knew I was still searching.
2. When I got back from Europe, I was broke, in debt, and still had a year of private college to pay for. I did what any self respecting broke girl would do and got a job tending bar and waitressing at a tiny bar above an Italian restaurant. It was one of those small town places where the regulars would walk in and hang up their coats and they’d already have their favorite drinks waiting at their spots before they could sit down. I loved it because I could eat a meal for free at work and drink for free after 10 pm. There was a jukebox in the corner. Those same regulars would sometimes give us money to choose songs, as long as we played their favorites. We played them over and over and sang along: “Hey Cinderella” by Suzy Boggus, “Tubthumping” by Chumbawumba, “The Chain” by Fleetwood Mac, and, of course, “Closing Time” by Semisonic.
3. Next up, a half decade down the road, the songs that remind me of the first day of the greatest love story in the modern world. That’s right, the wedding of The International Man of Intrigue and Dorothy Gale. There were a few awesome songs that day. I remember The International Man of Intrigue dipping me down low and kissing me in the back of Church after we walked out, the sound of “Hope to Carry On” by Rich Mullins being played by a friend on guitar. There was our first dance, Dave Matthews Band’s “Where are You Going?” Our wedding party and my siblings danced like crazy to Outkast’s “Hey Ya,” Which was definitely the popular song at the time.
4. The transition from wedding to the early days of our marriage was much more extreme than most. A few months in, we moved across the country and The International Man of Intrigue started preparing full force for a year long deployment to Iraq. He was gone a lot, in the field, working late, gearing up. Our first anniversary was spent at a pre-deployment brief—the meeting where they talk to you about the importance of wills and arrangements. Then, BOOM, on Martin Luther King Day he was gone. I dropped him off, kissed him goodbye, and called in heartbroken to work. There was a song that came out that year by a band called SheDaisy. “Come Home Soon” was its name, and I still can’t listen to it. I tried, before writing this blog post, but it’s still too full of emotion for me. That year, I also was front and center in the pouring rain at a Willie Nelson concert. Songs like “Always on My Mind,” “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain,” and “Whiskey River” bring back snippets of that long year. The International Man of Intrigue came home a year later, stayed for almost exactly a year, just long enough to hold a newborn Amelia Earhart in his arms, and then was gone again for fifteen months. Those were the first four and a half, exhausting, strengthening, difficult years of marriage. Not a bad thing to remember today, on Veterans’ Day.
5. The last batch of songs for my soundtrack tonight are the first songs my kids each heard after they were born. We just let them happen, and they turned out pretty well. Amelia Earhart heard “Irreplaceable” by Beyonce while she was in the nursery. Gertrude Bell was born while Carrie Underwood’s “All-American Girl” played on the television. Arthur Dent first heard The All American Rejects “Hope it Gives You Hell” on the ride home from the hospital. With Laura Ingalls Wilder, it’s a bit more fuzzy. I contend that her awesome nurse, Tom, who firmly believed in the mantra, “Whistle while you work,” whistled her her first tune. If you want to get technical, the first song she heard on the radio was on the hotel shuttle, on the way to a follow up doctor’s appointment, and I have no idea what it was saying. It was in Spanish, to the tune of “Putting on the Ritz.”
Music is big in the Intrigue Family. If he’s home, The International Man of Intrigue plays guitar after dinner. The older Little Explorers take piano. They are currently in love with the song “Bohemian Rhapsody.” They make up little songs all day long. There is always music running through my life. What about yours?