Friday, August 21, 2009

Rural reminiscing, thanks to music

Listen here to Summer Song Favorites from yesterday's NPR program. The featured songs: Hank Williams' "Jambalaya" (On the Bayou) from 1952 and "Summer Breeze" by Seals and Croft from 1972. Both picks--and their reminiscences--are by former rural dwellers, one in Louisiana and one in Iowa. The part that follows, by a woman who grew up in rural central Louisiana, reminds me of my mother's own stories of her upbringing in rural Arkansas, and isn't so far from my own upbringing, too.
"This song takes me back to a night on a screen porch, probably around 1953," she says. "I would've been about 5.

"We lived on a little gravel road way out in the middle of nowhere, and the only light you could see for miles around was the single light bulb that was hanging over the ironing board where my mom was ironing. It was very late at night and very hot, which is probably why she was ironing on the porch.

"There really wasn't much room for anything except the ironing board, so that's probably why I was sitting under it, pretending to play piano on this heavy wire that ran from one wooden leg of the ironing board to the other."

* * *

The song "Jambalaya," [she] says, "brings back a sense of peace, the security of being in that circle of light with a caring parent."

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