Saturday, April 14, 2012

JUST A SMALL TOWN GIRL

I listen to country music ... I admit it.

What most people don't know is that I listen to ALL kinds of music ... either because I am quite a cosmopolitan girl ... OR, and what most who know me best would say, is a result of my ADD/ADHD musical ear.   I LOVE jazz ... I LOVE the poetry in rap ... I have moments of just banging my head as I listen to rock ... Classical and instrumental moves me ... and country? Country music tells a story.

Today, I heard a song that tells my story, but I didn't realize it at first.  What first struck me about this song ... a song I'd heard on the radio all week ... was the beautiful pictures it painted in my mind.  You see, I talk to my fourth graders all the time about using words to paint meaning in the minds of their readers.  It's the only true, pure way to hook them, and man!  Did this song ever hook me!

Jason Aldean's song FLY OVER STATES blew me away!  The writers of the song, Neil Thrasher and Michael Dulaney, nailed this one TO. THE. WALL.  Without any music to the words, it could knock ya over.

Why?

It's a song written about my life, and after all, isn't that the affinity with music?  Any type of music?  That it somehow has a tie-in to our lives?

The premise of the song is that two guys are on a flight across the country ... assumedly, they are heading from one GIGANTIC metropolis to another, and as they shoot the bull on the plane, one of them looks down and sees the vast space of corn fields and starts wondering why anyone would live in the middle of nowhere.  And that's where Jason Aldean picks it up and sings, "Have you ever driven through Indiana?"  Okay, I have, and while that isn't the best selling feature of the story, it does make a point that it's us little peons of these United States that are the true backbone.  It's all the little small towns between there and here that help to weave the fabric of these 50 states. And it's we small town girls (and guys) that help to keep this country afloat.

Growing up, I lived in a great little small town.  Okay, yes, currently, it's not so great ... at least not the way it use to be a million years ago, when I was little.  But the fact remains that I am, in fact, a small town girl.

Growing up and heading off to college (all 10 blocks to college), there was a definite mindset that "small town" meant ignorant ... backward ... Republican (gasp!).

Not from this small town girl's vantage point.  Small town meant close-knit, dedicated, hard-working, loyal, and Republicans, Democrats and everyone in between working back-breaking jobs to make a living for their families.

I was raised in the shadow of the legacy of two small town kids, both whose families came from meager beginnings, but whose families each scratched out an existence to provide a better way for their next generations.

True, I've never really had to work from sun up to sun down doing hard labor to put food on my table.  The generations before me did that for me.  I sit here with a college degree (and a soon to be Masters degree!!), and I work in a professional job that, while not ever glamorous and not always appreciated, has afforded me things and experiences that I doubt either set of great-grandparents (or grandparents, for that matter) could have dreamed for me.  Still, I never am far away from the legacy that they spread out before me, and I am forever appreciative of their struggles, as I am enjoying the fruits of their labor.

I suppose this song spoke to me as I think back to my dad's small town (mine as well) and my mom's small town.  Neither one of them is especially dazzling, and I am relatively sure, should you pass through them today, you would find nothing remarkable in either one of them.  And yet, they are my story ... my life's fabric ... my history.  In the middle of nowhere has shaped my compassion for others, my world view, my faith, my heart ... in the middle of nowhere has helped me see that there is a bigger world out there.

They may just be fly over states to you, dear reader, but to this small town girl, they are family and friends and home and heart ... and they are, as Thrasher and Dulaney wrote, why God created fly over states.






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