Thursday, May 12, 2022

Songs Which Turned Me Into My Dad

 As a young kid I remember hearing Eve of Destruction song by Barry McGuire. The song had a great sound with a raspy harsh voice and cool rhymes.  There was no way to really appreciate the gravity of the situation in the world and the song's strong message. I listen to it today and I feel it still resonates in our political climate. Growing up I was aware of politics. My Dad was involved in local politics. He was a Band Councilor in our Reserve and he was also a Vice-president in the Manitoba Indian Brotherhood under the late Dave Courchene. My Dad was a staunch advocate of Indian Rights and Treaty Rights. My Dad was also anti-British, and despised their rule of the world. Today there are many who fall into this point of view but have wrapped those feelings in a new name and called it de-colonization. As a kid hearing the voice of my Dad and his view of government control has not been lost on deaf ears. I have become my Dad in many ways. Funny how listening to a song can take you to a place in your thoughts of childhood, the formation of your own attitudes and values. I realize I am my Dad. I have the same shuffle as I walk around the house in slippers. There is the scrapping sound going on when I walk; shhhhttt, shhhttt. I can hear my wife saying "lift up your feet." I tease a lot but I don't feel I have my Dad's wit. He could be real cheeky without being cruel and many times folks did not realize what went on. I like to think I have a bit of my Dad's intellect. He was an intelligent man, a man who was also knowledgeable in practical matters. 

When I was younger I vowed never to become like my Dad. I wouldn't be angry, I wouldn't be a slave to the drink. I wouldn't let other's use me. I wouldn't be a jealous raging lunatic. I guess I had some issues with my Dad. I did go into the drink and it was ugly. I didn't drink long, I stopped when I was 20 years old. I did pick up my Dad's ways of being generous to a fault. I also had loyalty to folks who had no loyalty to me. I went willingly into being used by others, who had no thought of my well being. I endured abusive relationships with bullies. I was loyal and befriended bullies. Their actions towards me affected me. I made excuses for their behavior and rationalized it. I turned the pain of being bullied into anger at those who loved me. It is quite funny what we accept in relationships. We will live with people, maintain friendships with people, and accept abuse directed at us because we care for them deeply. 

With the pain of life there is also the joy which comes along as well. There are songs which remind of us those times. The song can really take you places. The song can provide a snap-shot of the political climate, the good in society and the bad. The song can provide a voice to your thoughts and feelings. The song can open your eyes to a new point of view. The song can be profound and can be whimsical. The song is important. I can still see my Dad enjoying the big wooden cabinet record player. I hear a Hank Williams wanting you to see the light; Charlie Pride kissing an angle good morning; while Charlie Rich asking if you saw the most beautiful girl in the world. I see my Dad reading everything he could on the news about Indian people. So I did get my love of the song from my Dad and from my Mom. Although it was my Dad's choice of music we listened to as kids. My Mom had other tastes as she like Cat Stevens' Morning Has Broken and Mungo Jerry's In The Summer Time

I still enjoy the songs. Today I tend to listen to the words and message along with the melody. I like how songs can encapsulate events, social interactions and society. There are two songs I believe tell us the world of men and the world of Women.  Runaround Sue and The Wanderer sung by Dion, just tells us exactly the relationship, the standings of Men and Women in society. Can you think of a song or songs which capture a subject, event, time, or a statement? There are so many. Like my Dad I enjoy the song, but I also experience the message. Stevie Wonder's Big Brother warned us years ago about the system which Edward Snowden exposed. So go enjoy the messages while listening to the song and think about Iris DeMent says about what happens after: Let The Mystery Be

1 comment:

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