Music makes life complete and amazing

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“I heard jazz music in the streets of New Orleans and brass bands in the streets of Bristol, Rhode Island. I listened to echoes in the ghost town of Bodie, California. I saw corncob pipes being made in Washington, Missouri, and windmills being built in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. I walked half a day down into the Red River Gorge of Kentucky to find a cave Daniel Boone once camped in.”

- Charles Kuralt, A Life On The Road


I can’t imagine this old life without music.

Whether it is the music of the good old days or the sweet, true music of the songbirds as we enjoy the great outdoors, I have often thought life would feel sort of empty without it all.

I simply cannot hear Patsy Cline’s I Fall To Pieces without nearly falling to pieces. I remember as a very little girl, sitting on my Dad’s favorite easy chair with him, listening to Patsy Cline sing all of her amazing songs.

I even remember the scratchy sound of the stereo between songs on that well-played album.

My dad told me that the smiling brunette on the cover of that album was now singing up in heaven. When he explained that she had died in a plane crash on a foggy morning, I decided the world just didn’t make any sense. I was wise already at the ripe old age of 4.

Crazy was then – and still remains – my favorite song.

In a moment. Isn’t it funny how a certain song can take you back to a certain place and time, a particular day, even.

Bridge Over Troubled Water is the saddest song ever sung, in my memory, because it puts me right back to the day my mother’s only brother died at only 36 years old.

I can still feel the sorrow we all felt as we watched his parents, my dear grandparents, struggle with the realization that they had lost their only son.

While the song is intended to be soothing, it is so sad I can hardly bear to hear it.

Brown-eyed Girl by Van Morrison is the greatest summer car-ride song ever. My girlfriends and I played it over and over, singing along loudly off-key, as we cruised around in Carolyn’s little silver Honda that amazing summer between our junior and senior year of high school.

We also played a whole lot of Fleetwood Mac and Led Zeppelin and Carly Simon and Cat Stevens. We let the music and the fresh breezes carry us through many trips through Mohican State Park, a dollar’s worth of gas taking us many miles.

We were making memories that would become ingrained in our souls forever.

I’m not sure we ever realized how much the music played a role in the great times we had, but it wouldn’t have been the same fun without it.

Settling Cort. When my son was a baby, simply playing the soundtrack from the movie Out of Africa would settle him down on a fussy night.

I had listened to it over and over throughout my pregnancy, and I often wondered if he somehow settled down because he had some remote memory of this beautiful, soothing music.

He could go from a full-throttle crying jag to cooing when his dad or I thought to turn the music on, and we were grateful for the strains of the orchestra music and the subtle drums, so we didn’t question why it worked.

Movies wouldn’t be nearly as powerful without music. Life, it seems, should come complete with musical scores, and we would be much better able to prepare for the next scene.

My spine still tingles when I think of Scout and Jem Finch walking home from the school near the end of the movie To Kill A Mockingbird. The haunting background music was enough to set the nerves on high alert.

From the beginning to the end of that powerful movie, every bit of background music chosen made the movie complete and amazing.

With the family. Today, I enjoy listening to music with my kids. Some adults wonder how I can stand it, but my taste in music remains open and interested.

I find it all to be amazing, powerful and a wonderful part of life. You never know when the next song you hear will be the one song that stays with you, molding a divot in your memory bank that remains forever.

About the Author

Judith Sutherland, born and raised on an Ohio family dairy farm, now lives on a 70-acre farm not far from the area where her father’s family settled in the 1850s. Appreciating the tranquility of rural life, Sutherland enjoys sharing a view of her world through writing. Other interests include teaching, reading, training dogs and raising puppies. She and her husband have two children, a son and a daughter, in college. More Stories by Judith Sutherland

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