Except for marking a beat on a metal triangle in a second grade marching band, I never played a musical instrument. Yet no matter what thoughts wander through my mind certain images bring up a song and I burst out with the related lines. Remember these? There’s a tree in the meadow with a stream drifting by… Or mairzy doats and dozy doats and little lamsy divy… Or when you wish upon a star makes no difference where you are… Or a teaspoon of sugar makes the medicine go down… Or she wore an itsy bitsy teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikini… Get the idea? If you never heard them, too bad, I didn’t make them up.
Sometimes when marking miles on a five-hour drive I challenge myself to sing songs that come to mind. No fair repeating the same song although I do allow as many verses as I can remember. Buffalo gals has lots. The Ole Chisholm Trail is good for many miles. And so is Where Have You Been Billy Boy, Billy Boy? The wear and tear on my throat brings singing to a halt after an hour or so.
Where did the music in my life come from? Music was a constant “noise” in my young years. In the evenings Dad strummed his guitar and sang softly those tunes from the old country. Mother hummed as she worked, pushing the treadle on her sewing machine, pulling milk from docile cows, chopping at the weeds in the bean patch, or washing dishes while I was underfoot so to speak. A song I thought was too sad to hear was “Can I Sleep In Your Barn, Tonight, Mister?” And another was When The Works All Done This Fall. After dark the powerful stations from Texas dominated the airwaves repeating old time country songs. At school seventy years ago singing was a classroom lesson taking an hour once a week. Recess was a time for song circle games like “Farmer In The Dell” and “Go In And Out The Window.”
Somewhere I read that artsy sorts of things are more prevalent in a dominate left brain. Whatever. It brightens my life.