On our way to my son's preschool one day last week, the boy asked me to turn some music on. So I punched the stereo power, and out blared the Richard Thompson CD I'd been listening to a day earlier, Action Packed: The Best of the Capitol Years. The song was "Cooksferry Queen," an upbeat tune with a snare drum and bass line that drive the song's rhythm. The song kicked in at about the middle, just before the musical break, during which my son shouted: Mommy, you know what? This music is is making my heart dance!
I knew exactly what he meant. Between the drum and bass, my crappy/buzzing minivan speakers, and the volume, my heart was dancing in my chest, too. At the preschool, we sat in the car and listened until the song's abrupt downbeat end, at which point the poor kid groaned.
I've played the tune for him every day since then.
About a year ago, my daughter, then six, had a different response. I my sucked my daughter in the first time with "The Goldilocks Song," more appropriately known as "The Uninhabited Man." The refrain:
Who's been sleeping in my bed?
Who's been sitting in my chair?
Who's been sipping my bowl?
She liked it! Then we listened to more songs, and she ultimately came to favor "I Feel So Good," a song about a recently released inmate who's on the prowl.
Perhaps that's not the most appropriate theme for a six-year-old, but sometimes you just have to live on the edge. Of course, living on the edge meant living in fear that she'd one day sing a verse along with Thompson:
Now I've got a suitcase full of fifty pound notes,
And a half-naked woman with her tongue down my throat.
I feeeeeel so good. I fee-eeeel so good.
Over time and on many a car ride, my daughter had a chance to hear the album a few times. One night, she had laser focus and asked a lot of questions about the lyrics, mostly because she was hearing different words than Thompson was singing.
Her: Why is he missing the stew?
Me: He's not saying, "I'm missing the stew." He's saying, "I misunderstood."