Tag Archives: music

Some day, little girl

They say scent memories are the most overwhelming.

But they’re wrong.

Yes, when you smell bread baking it might toss you right back into your grandmother’s kitchen. Or the waft of skunk reminds you of that dreadful night. Or a certain perfume, caught on a breeze, delivers you to the small, embroidered bench of your mother’s vanity.

Music. Lyrics. Songs. We have more of those stuffed into our heads than all the odors combined. Well, I do anyway.

When our kids still lived at home, they found their way to our collection of vinyl records and our turntable, stored in the basement. Out of the blue, a song would sail upstairs. I hadn’t heard it for thirty years, yet I could stop what I was doing and sing every word as if I’d never left the floor of my bedroom where I sat cross-legged, solving for x in the Trapper Keeper resting on my lap.

So many songs in my head, each with a memory attached. Riding in a car, either snuggled next to my dad, or with my teenage friends, or driving my own children. Watching a movie musical. Sitting in the second pew of the church, the choir and organ or, later, the guitar resounding and triumphant, echoing in the space. But mostly music flitted in while I was doing something inconsequential, boring, routine.

And that’s still how it sneaks up on me.

When Glen Campbell died, all the tributes made me remember how much I liked his ballads but I realized I didn’t have any of his music. I placed a hold on his Greatest Hits CD at the library.

The library notified me it had arrived and I picked it up before I went to my recent MRI appointment. I popped the CD into the player in my car to listen to on the way.

The second song was “Wichita Lineman” and the tears began as soon as those sad strings swelled. I cried again during “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” and “Galveston” and “Gentle On My Mind.” I had advanced to some seriously ugly crying when I heard “True Grit.”

These are such stupid songs. The lyrics are clichéd and/or weird.

“I clean my gun and dream of Galveston.”

 “…that keeps you in the back roads of the rivers of my memory…”

The stories they tell are mostly ridiculous.

“I am a lineman for the county, and I drive the main road, searching in the sun for another overload …. I know I need a small vacation but it don’t look like rain, and if it snows that stretch down south won’t ever stand the strain.”

But “These Days,” the very last song on the CD, is different. Jackson Browne wrote it when he was only about sixteen. I’d never heard it before. Just a guitar, some strings, and Glen Campbell’s sweet, smooth voice. Pure vocal molasses.

I’ve been out walking

I don’t do too much talking

These days, these days.


These days I seem to think a lot

About the things that I forgot to do

And all the times I had the chance to.


I’ve stopped my rambling,

I don’t do too much gambling

These days, these days.


These days I seem to think about

How all the changes came about my way

And I wonder if I’ll see another highway.


I’ll keep on moving

I’m bound to be improving

These days, these days


And if I seem to be afraid

To live the life that I have made in song

It’s just that I’ve been healing so long


I’ve stopped my dreaming,

I won’t do too much scheming

These days, these days.


These days I sit on corner stones

And count the time in quarter tones to ten.

Please don’t confront me with my failures,

I’ve not forgotten them.


I had some time to ponder my reaction to this music while I was entombed in the MRI machine and later, driving home. Why did these songs, sung by this man I hadn’t thought of in years, affect me so?

The answer crept in gradually, a tide of understanding. Slow motion clarity, as usual.

Most of these songs are of my youth, 1968-1972. I was 10-ish. My parents were 40-ish. My world was small and safe, non-threatening. These songs were pretty. Glen Campbell was dreamy. “True Grit” was my favorite movie.


I’m not 10 anymore. My parents aren’t 40. My world isn’t small or safe.

But it was, once upon a time.


Some days, little girl

You’ll wonder what life’s about

But others have known

Few battles are won alone

Mike’s Kind of Music

My kids are all home at the same time so I’m taking the opportunity to step out of BeckyLand for awhile and play with them. But while I’m staycationing, I thought I’d take the opportunity to share my very funny writer friends with you.

Here’s another one from Mike Sigalas.

Mike Sigalas copy

Mike taught writing for a decade at a number of colleges and universities, including the University of South Carolina, the Citadel Military College, Orangeburg-Calhoun College, and others. He holds degrees from the University of South Carolina and California State University, Chico.

His other jobs included working as a blood bank distribution specialist, college-town rock singer, newspaper and magazine editor, Disneyland Jungle Cruise skipper, and surf-band roadie.

He is the author of Moon Handbooks to South Carolina, North Carolina, Coastal Carolinas, and Charleston & Savannah, and co-author of Moon Handbooks Smoky Mountains.

Sigalas book cover copy

My Kind of Music by Mike Sigalas

Music is a sore spot with me right now–I subscribed to one of those satellite radio networks only to find out that their vaunted “Acapella Mime” station is basically a gyp. (Apparently, half the time, the performers aren’t even real mimes, just chronically reticent Frenchmen.)

Even worse: another full quarter of the station’s programming has been subcontracted out to other mimes in places like Japan. So here I am, thinking I’m listening to professional French mimes, when actually, I’m paying to listen to Japanese mimes. And I can’t even speak Japanese! Granted, for an additional charge, the network provides English dubbing, but the poor syncing distracts more than it helps.

(Not to disparage the Japanese. Those fellows have suffered so much over the years, what with Godzilla, Mothra, Ghidira, and so on. God bless ’em, I say.)

Weren’t we talking about music?

Poorly-dubbed mimery aside, musically I’m your average guy…I’ll immediately perk up my ears, pick up, purchase, and/or illegally download anything featuring flutes or fifes, and perhaps piccolos–but only if played with the traditional British fingering. (And really, isn’t EVERYTHING better with the traditional British fingering?)

Other than that…I’m a sucker for anything by artists named Brian. Excepting the later, drug-fueled work of Brian “Itsy-Bitsy-Teeny-Polka-Dot Bikini” Hyland–but I’m sure everybody will back me up on that. Also, as part of the Hee-Haw Generation, I automatically dig the music of any band whose name ends with the words, “Mountain Boys.” Blue Ridge Mountain Boys, Smoky Mountain Boys…I don’t care if it’s Da Compton Mountain Boyz….just hand me my cloggin’ shoes and I’m a-ready.