Reverie at Bennys Place

Thanksgiving Blessings – Music Part I

As always, before I begin I wish to thank all my faithful readers and subscribers. I also want to extend a most sincere and heartfelt welcome to all my new subscribers. I am so glad you are here! It is a blessing if anyone takes the time to read my words so to all those past and present, thank you from my heart for being here and following this blog.

Peace and autumn

A Sleepy November

In my last post I spoke of the ideal of a sleepy November. Here we are positioned directly in the middle of the month and Thanksgiving is only a week and a day away. How has your November been thus far? Have you managed to avoid the onslaught of early Christmas advertising? With a bit of intervention on my part, mine has been peaceful — just as desired. I am so busy most of the time I don’t watch the television often which subsequently leads to the peace I so strongly covet. What I do watch (Jeopardy!, Nova, Independent Lens, CBS Sunday Morning, Big Bang Theory, etc.) is recorded so I can watch any time I wish at leisure. Oh, the joys of modern technology! With the recordings, I can fast forward through the noise and just enjoy the programming. What a blessing.

Sometimes my recordings will pile up because I must be in a certain mood to just sit. Saying that, it is nice to catch an episode of Jeopardy! during dinner or cozy up to an episode of CBS’s Sunday Morning over a cup of hot tea! Otherwise I am engaged in writing, indoor gardening, taking photographs or, oh yes, the topic of this post… listening to music!

Cultivating a Love for Music

music on the radio

When I was young I’d listen to the radio
 
Waitin’ for my favorite songs
 
When they played I’d sing along, it made me smile
 
from ‘Yesterday Once More’ by the Carpenters

Let me begin this segment by saying this with utmost sincerity and resolve. I cannot live without music. It is as much a part of my life blood as breathing and eating. I say this without any sort of exaggeration. Recorded sound provides the soundtrack for our lives. What other mechanism has the extraordinary capability of transporting us to a certain place and time? For example – If I hear anything by the Carpenters, particularly ‘Top of the World’ I am transported back to the playground of Harrison Elementary. I am singing the song as I skip around oblivious to all around me. Or – if I hear ‘The Hustle’ by Van McCoy, I am in the gym learning how to actually do the Hustle during after school dance class.

As a kid, I was not allowed to watch much television. I remember being allowed to watch a couple programs at night and one hour of cartoons on Saturdays and that was pretty much it. Imagine! Cartoons were aired ONLY on Saturdays. This made them special. There were exceptions to how much television we could watch of course. For example, a real treat and I do mean treat was when the holidays came around and the holiday shows such as ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’, ‘Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer’ and ‘Frosty the Snowman’ were once again aired on the various networks. They were aired ONCE and if you missed them, you missed them. Well, until VCR’s were invented anyway. This too made the holiday specials… well… special! 🙂

CBS Special Presentation

The rolling CBS Special intro always meant we were in for a treat

So, what is a young boy to do when he can’t watch a lot of television, had no Playstation or Nintendo or iPad or iPhone or computer or “enter name of electronic device here”? Well, I played outside a lot, read A LOT but I also listened to a lot of music. I received a Flavoradio from RadioShack from my Aunt for my birthday one year and listened to it all the time. I also remember getting a football shaped radio one year for Christmas. We were allowed to open one present on Christmas Eve and this was the present I opened. I got very little sleep that night as I stayed up listening to the various radio stations enjoying their Christmas offerings. I was in heaven. Several years later I would get my first record player and not long after that, my first boombox – my mom’s old Sanyo. It was so much fun recording songs from the radio onto tape.

The Elvis Presley Obsession

Elvis Presley Aloha from HawaiiBefore I was given my own record player around the time I was 12 I think, my mom would play records on a furniture style console record player. Her first choice was Elvis Presley. From a very early age I was listening to Elvis. When Elvis’s velvety voice rang out in the living room, I noticed immediately the effect it had on my mom. She would sit in her rocking chair and smile and tap her fingers to the beat. It was always such a special time when my mom and I would just sit and let Elvis serenade us. From ‘Love Me Tender’ to ‘Easy Come, Easy Go’ to ‘A Fool Such As I’ to ‘GI Blues’ we would just sit and listen. I would sing sometimes which made my mom laugh.

I honestly could not get enough of Elvis Presley and when I was given my mom’s tape player, I came up with an idea. What if we played the record at a decent volume and I recorded it? Would it work? It did. The recordings were perfect – well, perfect as they could be considering. I used up a few tapes, but I was able to record several albums. I could then listen to Elvis any time I wanted – which it turns out was nearly every day. The tapes lasted a very long time and I would love it if I still had them. My mom may have a couple hanging around somewhere … But … I now have something better. During a recent trip to my mom’s house, I asked if I could have her records. She didn’t really listen to them anymore, so she agreed. They are now less than five feet away from me in a record cabinet. Actually, let me get some of them out so I can take a photo of them. Here they are!

Elvis Presley Records

This is just a selection and actually I think ‘C’mon Everybody’ belonged to my aunt – the same wonderful aunt that gave me the purple Flavoradio I mentioned earlier. This actually presents a wonderful opportunity to transition into another story. Thankfully, during a time in my life when I needed it most, I was blessed to be able to live with my aunt for a brief time. We worked different hours so when she was gone, I had her house to myself. I explored her vinyl collection one day and stopped at Elvis (of course). She had a nice setup with large Pioneer speakers that could fill the entire house with Elvis’s golden voice. I would listen to her records all the time and I am so blessed to not only have my mom’s Elvis records but also my aunt’s records as well. I would play these records over the course of many years during my childhood and early adult years. To use (most of) the words of Karen Carpenter:

Those were such happy times and not so long ago
How I wondered where they’d gone
But these records are back again just like a long-lost friend
All the songs I loved so well

I have barely got started on this topic but rather than make it too long all in one go, I will stop here and continue with a new post in a couple days. Ultimately though, my friends, as the days pass and we near Thanksgiving, I am reminded of my MANY blessings and how rich I truly am. Thank you so kindly for reading and part II of this Thanksgiving blessing will be posted soon. Until then, I wish you all the very best always.

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