Monday, October 08, 2007

Dr. Hook, Granny, and the evils of the flesh...

I honestly could have sworn I'd written about this one before, but it appears that I haven't. So if you'll indulge me........

My paternal grandmother was many things: mother of seven; a hard worker; a Bible-thumper in the extreme; a real piece of work at times. This particular time, she was our summer visitor for a couple of weeks. Now normally, when grandparents come to visit, a joyful time is had by all. As you well know, there's nothing normal in the least in my family.

You see, I'd more or less already figured out that I needed to turn a deaf ear to my grandmother's preachings. Ministers would have told me I had a rebellious heart, and quite honestly, it would have been music to my ears. I was hardly a rebel in anything else. I was so squeaky-clean it was sickening. The worst thing I did (at least in my strict church's eyes)? I listened to rock and roll.....

Yep. The devil's music. Satan himself dragging us all to hell by the ears. And my grandmother thought so as well. Never mind that she listened to country on occasion -- and this was back when country was all cheatin', drinkin', honky-tonkin', etc. But mostly, she listened to gospel. Fine, whatever. We listened to it too. But I preferred to listen to it on Sundays, at church, and leave it out of the rest of my week (horrid little sunbeam for Jesus that I was).

So ..... Granny was visiting. And I had my collection of K-Tel records out, and listening to them. Yes, vinyl. One such collection was called "Together" and it was love songs of the late 70s. "Reunited" was on there, as the opening song. Anyhow, somewhere on side 2, if memory serves, was Dr. Hook's "Sharing the Night Together."

Okay, I was around 9, and while I was a bit sheltered from stark reality, I wasn't completely naive either. I easily got that he wasn't asking her to stay up all night to play Scrabble, ya know? But it wasn't something that I gave a whole lot of thought too, either. It was simply a song I enjoyed.

About 2 minutes into it, Granny decided she'd had enough of just idly sitting by and having her granddaughter corrupted. So into a sermon she launched about rock and roll's evils, and how the radio was full of nothing but raunchy trash like this song, blah blah blah, wah-wah-wah-wah-wah, yadda yadda.

Hell if I remember the rest of it. Shortly into her tirade, I tuned her out until she stopped the chatter several minutes later. But there, I made my colossal mistake: I more or less rolled my eyes, sighed heavily as if I were explaining things to a younger child, and said, "Granny. It's JUST a song."


There went a few more minutes of sermonizing, and my own internal dialogue. Did my mama and daddy know I listened to this trash? (I sure hope so. They bought it for me last Christmas.) Did I have any clue that this wasn't an entirely innocent conversation? (I'm not THAT stupid, Granny. Hell, YOU had seven kids. If you don't know how it happened, I'm certainly not going to explain it all to you.)

Eventually, she saw she wasn't going to make headway. By that point, she'd already talked through at least two other songs, and it was time to flip the record back over.

Things I learned that day:
1) Granny was an old fart.
2) My parents were cooler than I thought.
3) It was only rock and roll, but I liked it.........

Oh, and Granny: I know it's been 11 years yesterday since we buried you. We're all still laughing and shaking our heads about the grief you gave us all for our rock music. God only knows the sermons you preached to Ray, Danny, Mark & Scott about AC/DC, if you were giving me this much hell over Dr. Hook. Anyway, from your vantage point, I hope you realize that your grandchildren turned out pretty damn decent, in spite of your fears that we'd all end up as delinquents or addicts or whatever because of our lenient parents....... Chew on that a while.


Talmadge G. said...

There was a lot of that religious "anti-rock" nonsense going on in many parts of Arkansas in the early to mid '80s. Did I mention the state was a big market for thrash-metal back then?

And all the repression forced upon the teenaged girls in and around Rot-er, Hot Springs (e.g., no dating until age 16, 10:00 curfews on Friday nights) .... well, you could sum up one form of rebellion in three words: "I'm thinking Arby's."

It was worse than being a "helicopter parent"; this was backpack parenting -- always riding your back and assparts, snooping around your personal effects, et al.

Caution signs, guardrails and the occasional stop sign, yes. But roadblocks, no. You only make the kid want to crash the latter.

The roadgeek has spoken. :-)

PS: Word verification = "innlvde" "Inn loved"? Yup, the many older motels in HS were oft times the site of many a repressed girls' deflowering.

"Behind The Green Door (Of The Green Elf Motor Court)"

Gawd, it's getting late......

Shanna Mack Coleman Benefit Poker Run 2011 said...

Laslo & I made dvds of pictires set to Dad's fav music for his viewing & funeral service a year ago. The combined effort included the Doobs, John Denver, the Eagles, Bob Marley & Dr. Hook. As Dad's preacher buddy wound down & neared the end of his sermon/talk, we heard...Hey Ray, Hey Sugar, tell em whi we are blare over preacher/buddy's amen. Present & accounted for. Love, Hazey