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It's a Miracle I Have the Right Number of Fingers & Toes

by C.A. Jaymes 2 months ago in art
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My Life in Music #2

In my last story, I related my first solid memory of a time when music affected me on a deep level. As that recollection happened to be a sad one, today I would like to tell you about a song that made me ridiculously happy as a child.

Casting my mind back, I immediately recalled a particularly jaunty piece that would fill my childish heart with euphoria and make me want to dance. Full disclosure: this song marks me as a bit of a nerd — but bear in mind that I read philosophy as a hobby in high school, watched the original Star Trek obsessively (and had a secret crush on Mr. Spock), perused the World Book Encyclopedia Dictionary (wow! two volumes!) for shits and grins, listened to Dr. Demento every Sunday night (“Fish Heads” wow! — but more on that later), and wore my shirts buttoned up to my chin— please! I wasn’t a bit of a nerd — I was a full-out weird-o — but blithely unaware of it.

Anyway, getting back to the music: what was this most wondrous song of my childhood, you ask? It was none other than that perennial favorite, “Turkey in the Straw” — right? who doesn’t love “Turkey in the Straw?” (Don’t answer that!) When it came to this particular ditty, I had a special listening ritual. My parents had a big console stereo in the living room.

Said stereo was located in the corner with a small, foot-wide space between its right side and the wall — perfect for a scrawny 4-year-old to squeeze into. I’d put my “Turkey in the Straw” record on the turntable, drop the needle, and crawl into my private listening area — our stereo had a speakers on the sides, too— so my spot provided an exhilarating surround-sound experience. I would play the song over and over, moving my legs and feet to the beat, filled almost to bursting with a sense of bliss and lightness. Try it for yourself right now and see for yourself:

So…what, if anything, does all this mean? First of all, I must reveal that I have some serious hillbilly blood on my father’s side. Genealogical research has revealed that several generations ago my dad’s people lived in the hills of West Virginia. (It also revealed multiple marriages between people with the same surname — thus the relevance of this essays’ subtitle). BUT…is that enough to explain my visceral reaction to “Turkey in the Straw” (for at that tender age, that’s exactly what it was), or my love of banjo music? I don’t know, but I doubt it. I believe it is more to do with the nature of music itself. Music speaks to our souls. Age, origin, religion, social status: none of that matters, because music operates on a much deeper level.

So…how exactly does this anecdote shed light on my life’s meaning? Well…I think I’ve discovered that I’ve been a nerd pretty much from the beginning (I honestly hadn’t realized it up to this point, unbelievable as that may sound). But I’m perfectly fine with this! When people tease or criticize my nerdiness, I take it as a compliment & fly my freak flag with pride. I believe these memories also reinforce the fact that music has always been a very important part of my life. So, no Earth-shattering revelations, but still a couple of new insights.

Before I wrap it up, there’s just one last thing: I would dearly love to hear about your favorite childhood songs and how they touched your life. Please share in the comments. I look forward to reading what you have to say!! Until next time!

Peace :)



About the author

C.A. Jaymes

Paying it forward one story at a time. Peace & Love to all!!

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