Saturday, July 14, 2007

One Particular Song That Stands Out Above the Rest

This may be one of the strangest postings I have ever done. Bear with me on this.

Have you ever had just one particular song that stood head & shoulders above the rest? The one song that you heard whenever you went through, or are going through, a major life-changing event? I have one particular song...

"Awaken", by Yes, from the Going for the One album, back in 1977.

This wonderful song, which clocks in at almost 16 minutes (keep in mind: this is "Yes"!), ironic or not, has been blaring out of either my home stereo system, or my car stereo system, during times in my life where a major change has taken place. Here are a few examples:

1. May 26, 1985 - I had this song on cassette, and this was playing in my old Sparkomatic car stereo system in my 1980 Chevy Chevette. I was driving from Newport to Jonesboro, on my way to begin a new chapter in my life. Three days earlier, I had graduated from Newport High School, and I got a call that morning from Bonanza Steakhouse saying that they had a position open and wanted to put my name on it. I accepted the job, and there began two years of coming home & smelling like the deli bar. What this song meant to me at that particular time was that there will be storms, there will be tense times, but everything will come to a better ending.

2. Beginning of 1989. Definitely the third worst year in my life (don't worry - the other two years will be mentioned in this post). I had a car wreck to begin the year, and I wound up on foot for 10 months. I was living in a $100/month trailer that inspired Jeff Foxworthy to begin his redneck routine (listen to Jeff's description of the first singles apartment on the "You Might Be a Redneck" album - it fits my trailer perfectly). Then I got fired from the "Snak Pak" because the manager wanted to hire one of her buddies, but was told to let go of someone first. Since she and I NEVER got along, guess who was released. That cassette with "Awaken" on it got me through some very tough times. At the end of the year, I had another, much better job with a much better company (18 years and counting). I had another set of wheels. I just didn't have a girlfriend, but that's OK!

3. June 20, 1996. Two days before my wedding. I had a late night dinner with an old friend of mine at Shoneys Restaurant. Then I went for a drive. I drove and drove and drove. Thoughts going back and forth through my head. Should I marry this lady? Should I run? Will I be a good husband? Will I be a good father? So many thoughts running through my head. And yet again, "Awaken" was playing from my tape deck in my then-brand-new Chevy Corsica. Of course, I now realize that I should have never married that woman!

4. July 8, 2001. Driving from Jonesboro to Memphis. Reason? I had just been accepted into Kroger's Store Management Development Training Program. This was a bold new step for me. How would I do? Did I make the right decision doing this? Will I be successful? By this time, I had a new Oldsmobile Intrigue, and I had the live version of "Awaken", from the Keys to Ascension CD. Still made a huge impact on me, and I decided that whatever I did, I would just be myself. Must have worked pretty well, seeing how I just got a new promotion.

5. The week of Oct. 10 to Oct. 16, 2004. My wife leaves a note on my computer desk, stating that our marriage is over. My whole world crashed. The bottom had fallen, or so I thought. My wife had taken my son away from me, and she was seven months pregnant at the time. And once again, "Awaken" made another huge impact on me. But I couldn't see at that time how I would recover from this blow. Unfortunately, it only got worse...

6. March 5, 2005. I am in my Intrigue, on my way to Dallas to visit my father. About 29 hours ago, I received a phone call from the lab stating that I was not the father of either of my kids. I had just started my vacation, and I wasn't sure where I would go. If the tests came back stating that I was the father, I would have taken my kids and went to Jonesboro to visit grandparents. If they weren't my kids, then I was going solo to Dallas. During the six hours I drove to my father's ranch, I felt like I was a defeated man. I had failed as a husband, and I had failed as a father. And I felt like I had failed as a person. I was 36 years old at that time, and it was the only time in my life that I considered suicide to be not just an option, but THE option. This one song helped me go through so many stressful times, and you can bet that this was blaring from my car stereo.

7. July 15, 2007. About 24 hours from now. Leaving Hot Springs to begin a new, exciting, and scary time of my life. I have just gotten promoted, and I begin my new job at 8:00 a.m. Monday morning. You can bet your bottom dollar that this will be playing in my Jeep Liberty car stereo. I am a lot more calm, and more confident in myself than I have been in many years. I am excited, and I still think that this is only just the beginning.

So there you have it. One great song that Jon Anderson and Steve Howe wrote many moons ago could make a huge impact in my life. Who would have thought it?

But I can't just leave it at that one song. So many songs have had impact in my life: anything from All Things Must Pass, "Hollow Years" by Dream Theater, any great Van Morrison song (which means about 90% of his output), any great Moody Blues song (which means about 90% of their output), "Wish You Were Here" by Pink Floyd, "Winning" by Santana, "Jailbreak" by Thin Lizzy (rock on, Tal!) - there are a lot of classical, jazz, new age, country, gospel, and even (God forbid!) some rap songs (thank you, Run D.M.C.) that have such a huge impact on me. Music is such an all-powerful force! It supports any mood, any emotion that I am looking for. Is it any wonder why I love it so much?

Anyway, that does it for this post. Keep rockin', and pray for me as I tackle this new challenge!

Bolivar "When's the new Yes album coming out?" Shagnasty