Monday, October 16, 2017

Reminiscing: Let the Music Do the Talking

At some point in every child’s life, they want to be like their parents. A boy will want to be just like his first hero -- his dad. Likewise for little girls. They want to be just like their mothers. Somewhere along the line, that idea slowly fades away and each child becomes their own person. Still, no matter how hard we try to not be like our mothers or our fathers, there’s always a little bit of that parent shining through. It’s only natural. Almost every moment of our formative years are spent with our parents. We try to emulate them, and they are our first guides to moving through life.

My dad is big into riding motorcycles. From a time when he was still just a child, he was enamored with bikes. In his teenage driving years, and beyond, he got to ride with his dad. Each had their own machines. They would spend that time riding and bonding. Being able to do that is a series of moments that can never be taken away.

When I was small, before I could drive, I wanted to have a motorcycle and ride with my dad, too. When we went camping with family, my cousin, Matt, and I would pretend that we were riding our own Harleys around the campground. We would make the noises of a rumbling bike as we walked or ran around the facility. We would even go together to the motorcycle races in Medina during the summer, and would sometimes go to the races at the Hamburg Fairgrounds. Motorcycles were definitely very prominent in my early years. And then girls happened.

I found girls intriguing from a fairly young age. I had a kindergarten and first grade “girlfriend.” But in those early years, motorcycles still won the battle. About fifth or sixth grade, it all changed. Girls took more and more of my attention while bikes took a back seat more and more often. In 1987, Def Leppard came out with a new album and the girl I had a thing for liked them. So I supposed that the best way to her heart was to like them, too. I went to the point of calling the local radio station to vote for the top eight songs of the day so she could hear it.

This music thing was going to be great. If all I had to do was “like” some music to find something in common with the girl of my dreams, then that’s what I was going to do. At the beginning it was just music. After a short time, it became less about the girls and more about the music. I discovered that there was something about the music that moved me. It was like a drug. I couldn’t get enough. I gathered as much music as I could, and then the motorcycle dreams faded.

In those early days, it was all about the way it made us feel. That’s why all that awful music that we listened to in the 1980s and 1990s was so great for us. We were in the throes of adolescence and all the hormones involved. All the songs about girls and sex was prime for those of us at that age. Who could forget that Whitesnake video with Tawny Kitaen?

As I got older, I found my music tastes changing. I liked something just a little bit deeper. I moved from hard rock, sex songs to the raw energy and endless possibilities of the early years of the Grateful Dead. Seeing the Dead live is where I truly fell in love with live music. There’s nothing quite like a live concert, no matter the genre.

Now that I’m older, my musical tastes continue to evolve. While I still like the way music makes me feel, I tend to enjoy the songs that tell a real story. There seems to be a little more thought involved with some of the music I listen to now. The blues, jazz, folk. I have a wider range of tastes in the player at any given time.

Although I’m in my forties now, I still have that dream of riding motorcycle with my dad pop up every now and then. I have gone on several trips with my dad on motorcycle runs. I’ve been to Washington, DC almost a dozen times on trips, Cleveland a couple of times, and some day trips to a local airshow. On those rides, I have experienced the rush that my dad probably feels when he goes out on the open road.

In my experience, that rush is the same feeling I get when I listen to some of my favorite songs. There’s something about finding something you love and enjoying it. All of us have different interests. As long as we enjoy ourselves and aren’t hurting anyone else, we should enjoy ourselves to the fullest. My dad has motorcycles. I have music. One of my daughters has drawing. We all have something that makes us happy.

I obviously went off on a huge tangent here. I was trying to explain how my dad’s love for motorcycles and my love for music were nearly the same, and how we really do end up like our parents most of the time. It’s more than just mannerisms. According to my wife, I have more than a few mannerisms and expressions that are straight from Rodney. I don’t see it, but she assures me they’re there. We all probably have those little tics that belie where we all truly come from.

Craig Bacon has no dime but he’s got some time to hear your story. He’s also ready for a return trip to Washington for a long, Memorial Day weekend.