How Childhood Car Trips Scarred Me For Life

Me - about the time of the Coke Syrup Incident

Get comfortable, because I b’lieve I’m fixin’ to ramble.

(Wow.  My Virginian just came flying out there, totally unbidden. That was unexpected. hmph!)

Okay, so, I’m fairly certain that other, more polished bloggers actually plan out their posts…make a concerted effort to give their readers balanced, substantive content delivered in a smooth, coherent and delightfully deft manner.  I’m also fairly certain that if I were to try that approach, my doc would have to treble my Xanax prescription.

Nope, as if you hadn’t noticed, my mode d’emploi is more of a “fly by the seat of the pants” approach.  And only occasionally do I actually know whose pants they are.  I have SO many ideas for posts, but I normally discount the majority of them because the way I’ve arrived at a particular topic is so convoluted that to explain it would exhaust my patience before I’d even get to the good part.  But, on the off-chance that some of you actually think like I do, I thought I’d take you on the ride with me tonight.

So, this morning after I dropped Liam off at Pre-School, I was driving home, right?  Well, remember I live at the beach…and while I was taking the bridge over an inlet I looked out over the Bay and saw the sun glistening on the water, the GORGEOUS blue of the sky and the breeze lifting whitecaps ever so gently in the surf…man, it was just the kind of day that you want to crank some tunes, roll the windows down and go on a road trip!

Immediately “road trip” made me think of REM’s entire “Murmur” CD, and trips back and forth from college in my little tan Toyota Tercel hatchback, and of that one trip my freshman year when I caught a ride with Barney McIntyre in his vintage BMW, which made me think of the Smiths – specifically “Bigmouth Strikes Again”…but then I quickly digressed into the theme from “Deliverance” because I remembered how Barney’s car broke down in the podunk little town two hours from home and how we had to ride the rest of the way in the cab of a tow truck with a man who had clearly never made the acquaintance of deodorant, toothpaste OR a barber who had the ability to style hair in anything other than a mullet.  Then courtesy of the mullet memory, I made the mental jump to Meatloaf’s anthemic “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” which NATURALLY segued to Bruce Springsteen’s “Thunder Road” and the time my buddy Kathy Y. and I were coming home from Annapolis, MD (trip to USNA to plan my wedding to that other guy I married first, dammitall).  Kathy is a teacher, which made me think of my Mom (who was ALSO a teacher), and how much I miss her (especially with Mother’s Day coming up and all), and the time on a trip up to my Grandparents’ house in Watkins Glen, NY when I was about six…we had to stop off in some tiny town in Pennsylvania to find this old-time drugstore where Mom got a bottle of “Coke Syrup” for me because Dad’s driving through the Allegheny Mountains like a bat out of hell (temporary throwback to Meatloaf) had made my stomach do flip-flops of epic proportion, and she swore that Coke Syrup was the magic elixir that would prevent me from blowing like Krakatoa.  And, like the memory of  many a defining, riveting childhood event is wont to do, thinking of the taste of that nasty syrup immediately propelled me back to that moment, and I remembered EXACTLY what was playing on the radio in the old Green Dodge Station Wagon when Mom’s Miracle Cure was proven decidedly ineffective…

It was Looking Glass:  Brandy.

Sooooooooo it was clear to me that I had to put up a playlist of songs that I shall ALWAYS connect with long car trips with my parents.  Perfectly logical thought progression, yes?

Now, my parents were not paradigms of “hip”.  They were 35 and 36 when I – the last of four, and by a BIG margin in sibling age spans – arrived on the scene.  Did they listen to anybody cool like Johnny Cash, Townes Van Zandt, John Prine?  Not hardly.  Frankly, it’s a wonder I survived those Paul Anka/Wayne Newton/ Helen Reddy riddled years.

Matter of fact…now that I think of it…this could explain ALOT. *sigh*

So, once you’ve finished regaling in the shame that I harbor in knowing that I can STILL sing every word to every one of the songs below, tell me:  What evil YOU were subjected to on Parental Road Trips?

(Extra points if you can top the Coke Syrup Incident…)

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9 Responses to How Childhood Car Trips Scarred Me For Life
  1. This Belle Rocks
    May 6, 2010 | 1:11 am

    Whew! With “convoluted, ” you had me thinking I wasn’t going to be able to keep up. But this made perfect sense to me and I followed it all, and enjoyed the trip down your memory lane! (Or maybe I, too, speak ramblinese?)

    Okay….I like Thank God I’m a Country Boy and Brandy (sorry!), and could deal with Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves. The rest I could also gladly do without!

    We didn’t go on many ‘road trips’, but anytime we were in a car, my parents’ choice in music was playing. My mom was fond of Dr. Hook. Didn’t like ’em, but that was mainly because they were boring and didn’t wear platform boots and makeup and spit blood. I did later come to appreciate “The Cover of the Rolling Stone”. But….OMG, I will probably never for as long as I live forget Conway Twitty’s “Tight Fittin’ Jeans”. That was courtesy of my stepmother.

    I know you probably think it was a good thing we didn’t actually go on road trips. All this was endured in 30 minute trips or less!

    To be fair, Mom also loved The Eagles and Queen, so that made up for Dr. Hook. And Dad was known to crank Rush, Joan Jett, Bob Seger, Warren Zevon, and Creedence Clearwater Revival, so I guess I can forgive him for subjecting me to the musical whims of my stepmother! And I love my (now ex) stepmom, but never did find anything I liked in her musical collection till I came across an old vinyl lp of Todd Rundgren’s. That’s what we *should* have been listening to instead of Conway Twitty, dammit!
    .-= This Belle Rocks´s last blog ..I don’t know what to say =-.

  2. ThisBelleRocks
    May 6, 2010 | 4:45 am

    RT @MusicSavvyMom: Finally got a post up today! "How Childhood Car Trips Scarred Me For Life". Yes, with playlist.

  3. Jerry Rochester
    May 6, 2010 | 6:49 am

    How Childhood Car Trips Scarred Me For Life | Music Savvy Mom: Get comfortable, because I b'lieve I'm fixin' to ra…

  4. oh_pook
    May 7, 2010 | 8:01 am

    Love it, Ri!

    No talk of road trips is ever complete without the summer of ’76 trip from St. Louis to New York… being the youngest of 5 I always got crammed into the back section of the family station wagon with the luggage…

    I’m scarred for life after hearing Afternoon Delight five thousand and sixty eight times…

    …and like Belle… I followed you perfectly… I guess GMTA… especially when layered with a fantastic “soundtrack”

    *hangs head in shame* I have 8 of those songs on my iPod by choice…

  5. Ri, the MSM
    May 7, 2010 | 11:06 am

    LOL! Now, hey – I should probably clarify that I don’t hate ALL of these…I think a few have just grown on me. Like, I won’t change the radio station if “Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” comes on, and I’m pretty sure it was thanks to that song that I learned about Lake Gitchigumee…

    And of course – Jim Croce could do no wrong in my eyes. <3
    .-= Ri, the MSM´s last blog ..How Childhood Car Trips Scarred Me For Life =-.

  6. Mari
    May 8, 2010 | 11:25 am

    Truly, I’m a huge fan of most of these tracks, the songs that I wanted to listen to while my parents were listening to country. My playlist would include “Kiss an Angel Good Morning” by Charley Pride and “Delta Dawn” by Tanya Tucker – and I knew all the age-inappropriate lyrics to that song by the time I was 5. In the car, we were relegated to whatever the local country stations were playing.

    But at home, I was lucky enough to hear my parents’ album collection – which was liberally sprinkled with Waylon, Merle, Hank and Johnny.

    Then, when my parents weren’t home, it was my brother’s collection of Zeppelin, Floyd and Sabbath or my five sisters’ selections of dance and disco.

    At the tender age of 7 I could ramble off lyics from Ozzy and Waylon.

    It’s all about the music, baby.
    .-= Mari´s last blog ..Yeah, well, there’s that. =-.

    • Ri, the MSM
      May 8, 2010 | 12:46 pm

      Mari, when I was about the same age my sister used me as a party trick, since I could sing “Bohemian Rhapsody”, in its entirety…with appropriate Mercury-esque sweeping gestures and exaggerated facial expressions.

      Perhaps we were separated at birth?

      • Anonymous
        May 8, 2010 | 3:21 pm

        The more I know you the more I think we may have been separated at birth as well!

        • Mari
          May 8, 2010 | 4:55 pm

          PS I wrote that … but it made me “anonymous” so it looks like a strange stalkery person … which I am not … ‘s just me …
          .-= Mari´s last blog ..Yeah, well, there’s that. =-.

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