Monday, July 22, 2013

Soundtrack: Volume Five - Summertime in Waco

I was the firstborn grandchild, the first of six Martin granddaughters. There was probably some disappointment that none of us were boys to carry on the Martin legacy, but you wouldn't have known it, because all we ever knew was love. Every day spent with my grandparents in Waco, Texas was like magic. Sadly they are no longer around to see the girl that they helped mold into the person I am today, but they are with me all the time and I know they're smiling down with pride.

My Grandfather coached me in the art of being a good tomboy. He took me to the dirt track races and the rodeos. We'd go to the fairgrounds and he'd let me ride as many of those rickety carny rides as I wanted, time didn't matter, we went home when the sun went down. He caught me a "pet" armadillo, showed me how to shoot beer bottles off a fence post and taught me to drive his red and white El Camino, while I sat on his lap, steering the wheel, while he worked the pedals. Had we ever gotten into some kind of accident, I'm sure he would have just brushed me off and told me that was God's way of toughening me up.

My Grandmother, she was strong as nails, but as close to a genuine southern belle as I've ever seen. She was glamorous, with the perfect Texas drawl, it sounded like melted butter and brown sugar. She always smelled amazing, I can't describe it, but I'd know that scent anywhere. She taught me the pretty side of being a girl. When I wasn't allowed to keep a wild armadillo as a pet, she gave me a kitten. I caught frogs in the backyard all dolled up like a little debutante in sundresses and pig tails. Every time we drove through a yellow light, she'd kiss the palm of her hand and press it to the ceiling of the car for good luck, something I still do to this day.

In me they instilled a wicked combination of elegance, brawn, brains, good solid Texas roots and an appreciation for great music.

Long before I worked in a record store, I learned about music from an old radio that sat on a nightstand between two twin beds at my grandparents house. By day it was all Country. Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline, Tammy Wynette, George Jones, all the greats. I heard of Elvis Presley's death on that radio one hot August afternoon. By night it was tuned to a Big Band/Jazz station, that is the music that I can still hear when I drift off to sleep. It was the perfect soundtrack for slumber.

The radio sat directly under a mounted deer head. The glow of dial lit up the six-point buck's face in a gentle, calming way. My Grandfather told me that the rest of the deer lived behind the wall. As a child, I imagined it watching over my sister and me as we slept. Nothing could hurt us, if any potential harm came our way, I just knew that brave deer would bust through the wall and save us all. As a child it made perfect sense. That glass-eyed stag was my hero and every night before getting under the covers, I'd stand on my bed and kiss it on the nose in a gesture of thanks for keeping us safe.

Summers in Waco, that is where it all began. Tomboys, girlie girls and fine, fine music.

Soundtrack: Volume Five July 22, 2013

Destination Moon - Dina Washington
Let's Get Lost - Chet Baker
Knock Me a Kiss - Louis Jordan
It's Raining - Irma Thomas
Got My Own Thing Now - Squirrel Nut Zippers
Miserlou - Dick Dale
Feeling Good - Nina Simone
What'll I Do - Rosemary Clooney
Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered - Ella Fitzgerald
Begin the Beguine - Sheryl Crow
Someone to Watch Over Me - Ella Fitzgerald
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes - The Platters
Me and Mrs. Jones - Billy Paul
Night and Day - Ray Charles
A Kiss to Build a Dream On - Louis Armstrong
The Girl From Ipanema - Astrud Gilberto/Stan Getz
De-Lovely - Robbie Williams
Too Marvelous for Words - Frank Sinatra
Melodie d'Amour - Dean Martin
Beyond the Sea - Bobby Darin
Mr. Sandman - The Chordettes
Que Sera Sera - Doris Day
Wishin' and Hopin' - Ani DeFranco
Let's Do It - Alanis Morissette


  1. I loved reading about your memories with your grandparents in Texas- you were and are blessed!