Mentally Struck By Lightning

I awoke on the couch during a thunderstorm the other night.  Lately I can’t seem to make it to bed before I close my eyes, so this has become an unfortunate habit of late; minus the thunderstorm.  This was the first thunderstorm we’ve had this spring and it reminded me of a new fear that my mind created only last summer.

One morning, on Preston and Steve on Philadelphia’s WMMR morning show, their topic was related to people being struck by lightning.  A conversation like this likely resulted from a news story about a survival or death from such an event.  Regardless, callers quickly filled the airwaves with personal accounts of being struck by lightning or what they’ve heard it’s like, etc.

I’m quite familiar with lightning; my Dad is a Weather Channel junkie.  Though most people, before smart phones and the internet, would turn on the twenty-four hour weather broadcast to get a quick update, Dad would watch for what felt like hours.  Either he was hoping something would change or he missed his calling as a forecaster.  It reminded me of when people would constantly open the refrigerator, hoping something of interest would appear out the air, even though the stock was thoroughly evaluated five minutes prior.  Anyway, the Weather Channel fascination was before they had weather related shows to fill time as well, so imagine boring and looped information.  Needless to say though, lightning was the grand-daddy of weather events for Dad.

Mom called Dad “Ben Franklin” because despite his knowledge about impending thunderstorms, whether the notification came from the Weather Channel or from the cracks of thunder out the window, Dad was also a compulsive pool skimmer.  There’s Dad again, walking the rim of the pool with the metal poled skimmer, making sure there aren’t pine needles congregating on the surface.  Though we eventually got him to stop doing this prior to it killing him, his favorite spot during a thunderstorm is on the patio, watching or snoozing on the lounge chair, in a nice accessible metal patio.

So the fear I had of thunderstorms, was only for my Dad.  I never feared that I would be struck; until last summer.  Preston and Steve brought up how victims of strikes would feel Continue reading

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I Hate Country Music; Or So I Thought

I always told myself that country music is horrible. From the time that I was very, very little, I detested it and really rallied my mind against it. I honestly have no idea why. It was something that I made a point in letting people know when we discussed music taste. My response to it almost bordered on aggressive. It’s one of those things that I look back on and though I’ve tried to analyze my reasoning, I can’t come up with anything to defend my logic, except for the fact that I was immature and must’ve been trying to fit a mold.

Over time, I started to hate country music less and trend to a more indifferent feeling about it. My parents didn’t listen to country music, but they certainly never taught me to hate it, or hate anything for that matter. The closest thing that played in my house was Gordon Lightfoot, which is more Folk, but certainly has twang-y elements to it.  I’ve basically loved the fundamental instruments in country music all my life, which are no different from rock music, but it’s just a different style and a slightly different structure.

Still, having grown up outside of Philadelphia, I never understood the crowds that flocked to country music concerts in the summer, with cowboy hats and a Budweiser in hand. I’m all about being a patriotic American, and I realize that country music probably depicts the American persona more than any other, but where did these people pick up the taste for it?  Where did they come from?

It wasn’t until I realized my Uncle had a love for country music that I started to think about it in a different way. He was a city kid, grew up loving heavy metal bands in the 80’s and had the style and hair to rival bands like Van Halen in his day. He played in a metal band, loaded up with tattoos and although he never lost his love for a bad rock ballad, he loves country music now too?  As he is a person I respect, good for him, I thought.  Then I met my husband, who is from Iowa; who knew all the country songs when we went to a piano bar early in our relationship. Then I discovered the country station presets in his pick-up truck. He wasn’t wearing cowboy boots or anything, but I must’ve been slow to not see that coming.  I feel kind of sorry now, that he didn’t come out spurs blazing to show his country roots. I always wondered if neglecting his country roots publicly was his way of finding himself in another part of the country or if he was that concerned I’d dislike him for it.  That would be something I’d truly feel sorry for.

As I grow up, I’ve found there’s nothing more important than being open minded. Hell, I can accept most anything else in the world and look on the bright side of most any situation, why can’t I accept country music? Then it happened, crossover music. Though I’m sure it always existed in some form, country has crossed over into mainstream music in a very popular way over the last few years and onto mainstream stations.  There are even bands that I really like that use country elements. I think I might like it. Though don’t tell anyone yet, because I’m not sure I’m ready for that kind of commitment just yet. I haven’t bought a country album, but I may have programmed a country station on the second set of presets in my car. We’ll know for sure if it makes the top 10, but its tough competition.

I knew I was lost when I got hooked on the Mumford & Sons album last year and there was a heavy bluegrass and banjo vibe on it.  I’d really love to play banjo, once I get guitar down a little better, but I’ve convinced myself that maybe I’d focus on old Irish music to ease my way into this American genre. I know, none of it makes sense, but at least there’s no longer a deep misunderstanding about something that never truly deserved it.