When we moved from our 4-bedroom house with storage space, closets, washer/dryer, yard, and cabinets into a tiny apartment with none of the above, I had to get rid of a lot of stuff. I sorted through, item by item, letting go of things I kept with me for years for no real reason. One of the more difficult things to say farewell to was over half of my record collection. All of my music is now on my computer and ipod and I realized that I scarcely, if ever, listened to records anymore. Furthermore, many of them were scratched or broken and they take up a lot of room.
While doing housework yesterday, I decided to dig out and listen to the records that “made the cut.” I soon found it very interesting that those who know me the best could probably guess every single album I kept. Because they’re my influences, they’ve become part of who I am, and each one holds a memory that is to me, as clear and vivid as a color photograph.
First I listened to my favorite record, autographed by the man himself, Randy Travis (pause for swooning). Charlie Rich, Johnny Horton, and the Statler Brothers all represent my undying love for classic country. My family will tell you, I probably know more useless trivia about classic country songs and artists than anyone else – old or young (thanks to Rick Jackson’s Country Hall of Fame radio show!).
I’ve got SSG Barry Sadler singing the Ballad of the Green Beret, among other military focused songs. I purchased this my first year in ROTC as a wide-eyed, idealistic cadet burning with an obsessive fire for all things military.
I found the “Terms of Endearment” soundtrack, which I’ve mentioned several times that both my grandparents were in the movie. Shirley McClain even scowled at my grandpa, thank you very much.
I’ve got My Fair Lady, The Sound of Music, and Fiddler on the Roof. Still love musicals. I’ve got Nat King Cole, The Best of Glenn Miller, Elvis, Gershwin, Sinatra, Benny Goodman, and Duke Ellington. Thanks for teaching me those standards. They sure got me a lot of tips in my day.
Before I played each one, I cleaned it with a soft cloth and some very old record cleaner I thought I had trashed years ago. Goodness knows the last time they were wiped down properly. I put each one back in their cardboard case with care and they’re now displayed for all to see in a prominent position on my living room bookshelf.
I wished I could go to Wal-Mart and by a frame so that I could nail them to the wall like my other memories. Or that I could chronilogically organize them and stuff them into a leather bound book for people to look through when they come over. But it felt good to get the dust off them and remember why I bought them, why I kept them, and why I still listen to them. I hope I never forget. After all, that’s why we have albums, to remember.