A to Z Theme 2016

For my 2016 A to Z theme I used a meme that I ran across on the blog of Bridget Straub who first saw it on the blog of Paula Acton. This meme is a natural for me to use on my memoir blog. It's an A to Z concept and it's about me. No research and nothing complicated. I'm given twenty six questions or topics to discuss that are about me.

In April I kept my posts short and uncomplicated. In the midst of it all you might learn a few things about me that you didn't previously know.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Cherry River (Soundtrack of My Life)

Have you ever searched for something only to find it when you weren't looking for it?

       This post is a continuation of sorts from my previous post so you might want to start there if you didn't read it--it's short.   The following post will likely be short as well.

Cherry River

        In 1975 I ran away with the circus--or actually it was a stage magic show.  That would be my lifestyle for the most part for the next 15 years.  There were a few diversionary periods that involved a first marriage, having a kid, getting divorced, being depressed for a while, meeting a new woman and getting married again and having three more kids.  Throughout it all I was working on first a magic show and then a theatrical stage production for over a decade.

        That's not this story though since what I'll be relating is not so much a story as it has to do with the incidents that are interspersed throughout our lives, how we feel about our life incidents, and how they can affect us later.  And maybe in the end what I'll be telling will only appear to relate to any of these things other than only the most remote ways.   An impressionistic memoir perhaps?  Or merely thoughts passing from my mind's memory to your computer screen.

          Spending so much time on the road meant my record collection sat at my parents' house gathering dust.   Now I would be spending much of my time in my vehicle or in motel rooms.  The music medium of choice during this period was no longer vinyl, but now it was cassette tape.  Hours were often passed on the road so that meant I was continually building a cassette tape collection.  If there was time that needed to be killed in towns that were new to me then I mass murdered minutes in record stores wherever I happened to be.  

          I would peruse the cassette bins searching for albums that I might have recently read about or for new releases by old favorite artists.   Sometimes when I'd get to the G section I might think about my old favorite group The Good Rats with little expectancy of actually finding anything by the group.  I was certain that they had disbanded, but it never hurt to look anyway.

           Another record store section I always checked out was the cut out bins.  Since many of my favorite vinyl albums had been discovered in the cut-outs, I was always ready for a bargain price spent on some new-to-me discovery or some old favorite that I was happy to add to my tape collection.   Typically I would come away from my searches with a few selections to while away future travelling time.  Besides, I always had money to blow when I was working on the road.  To me, new music seemed vital to my sanity in a sense.

          It was in 1985 I think it was and, if I remember correctly, I was in Louisiana--Lafayette I believe--when in a mall music store cut-out cassette bin I found a treasure trove that I had never expected to find.  There were something like five different Good Rats releases from 1975 until more recent dates.  I was elated with my find and bought them all along with some other interesting albums.   Upon later listening I discovered that The Good Rats were even better than that first vinyl album by them that I had purchased in the University of Tennessee student center bookstore.  Now The Good Rats were officially one of my number one favorite rock and roll groups.

         The first cassette that I listened to was the 1979 release Birth Comes to Us All.   The song that really hit me and stuck with me was "Cherry River"--a song that in some strange way tapped into everything my road life represented to me.   It's a druggie song from the way I interpret it, but in the more metaphorical sense the song symbolized the hypnotic effect of constant travel and my continual quest for the next perfect experience.   I could especially relate to the image of driving outside of Butte, Montana listening to Johnnie Ray.   Not that I had any Johnnie Ray cassettes, but I had plenty of music that represented all eras of recorded music and beyond back into the eras of classical music.  A Johnnie Ray cassette could have easily fit into my eclectic collection.

         Listening to Johnnie Ray at night on a winding road outside of someplace like Butte, Montana epitomized so much of road life.  Sometimes weary after having put many miles behind us, waiting to get to the next motel or wherever we were heading at the time.  In retrospect it all does seem like some kind of crazy drug-induced dream experience.  So much remembered with even more forgotten. They were the good years, or some of the best at least.  Or maybe they were just vastly different and strange in a life that has been mostly good.

        I can't complain.  I feel as though at some time--or times--in my past I have drunk deeply from the Cherry River of imagination and reality and memory and contemplation of more miles to one day be traveled.  I want more.   More than I can ever drink in one lifetime.  More than any life can hold.  The river of experience and life is worth the search that it takes to find it.

          Have you ever searched for something for a long, long time and then found it later on when you weren't even looking for it?     What is one big experience that you would like to relive?   What one thing that you haven't done yet are you still looking forward to doing eventually?

In this post I offer another in my Soundtrack of My Life series.    Robin at Your Daily Dose has been doing the Soundtrack of my Life posts on her blog for a while now.   I had done a few of my own "life soundtracks" on my Tossing It Out blog as well as the song series (starting at this post) I did for my 2014 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge on Wrote By Rote. Be sure to visit and follow Your Daily Dose for more Life Soundtrack info.



  1. I was always trying to find the book 'Addie Pray', on which one of my fave movies was based, 'Paper Moon'. It was out of print and the library didn't even have it. I wandered into a junk shop one day and found the paperback for .25 cents. I was elated! I had to keep my joy to myself cause I didn't want the owner to jack up the price. lol

    1. JoJo, I've also searched for hard-to-find books and have found that can be even more difficult than finding music because often the books aren't in as good of an order on the shelves. That can be a real treasure hunt. Glad you finally found yours.


  2. Lee, I can't imagine living on the road like you did for years. I'm a put down kind of roots gal and a road life isn't for me. Not that I wouldn't like traveling for fun, but having to do it because it's a career choice...nope that's not for me. Oh, I've looked for something for years but not in the same way you're referring to it. Usually it's something I put away and couldn't remember where I place to only find it when I wasn't actually looking for it. That's a happy surprise and a lot stressful than digging for hours on end to come up empty handed. The one thing I want to do that I haven't done yet is travel west to see many of the National Parks & other attractions. DH & I often talk about getting a small RV to travel the country maybe after he retires or we win the lottery, which ever comes first. lol Thanks for sharing your memories through music!

    1. Cathy, the road life is something I think you can get used to easily and doing in tandem with a career is the best of both worlds when the job is one you love like it was for me. Performing and all the work preparing is great fun for the most part and the adulation of the crowds is a special reward unlike any in other jobs.

      I don't know how many times I've looked for something around the house and then found it much later on when I wasn't looking for it anymore. Those are just funny kinds of moments in life I guess and rarely anything terrible, but sometimes inconvenient.

      I've heard many people talk about that RV life and I've thought of it myself, but still I'd rather get paid doing it as it can be quite expensive at times.


  3. That is definitely a track that will encourage me to look a little more into these guys...just enough of that nagging "what is it they remind me of?" without a payoff to make them very intriguing.

    1. CW, I highly recommend them. I think you'd enjoy their music. The vocalist definitely has a style that others had, but at the moment I'm not thinking of a comparison.


  4. Hi Lee,

    Coming is so late as I am, you probably won't even know I finally made it. I love these reflective posts of yours - more so that they inspire me to do the same before (in case) my mind looses track of what my heart won't let go of.
    I always liked Johnny Ray and nearly wore out grandma's album, which included songs such as "Walking in the rain", "The Little White Cloud" and "Cry".

    Thanks for the pleasant memories!


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