One of the things you and I always connected on was music. Not that you always agreed with my choice of songs or bands! The look on your face when Brooke and I played “Thunderstruck” in your old farming truck is one we laughed about for years.
In the early years, though, it was old country that you raised us on. Weekend mornings when Mom was at work and you’d be in charge of us–we did our own hair, had chocolate cake for breakfast, and danced to the Johnny Horton records you played for us.
When I was eight years old, you taught me how to drive a truck in the field so I could help you haul hay, and the 80s country blared through the speakers, loud enough for the entire neighborhood to hear.
I have yet to be able to listen to Charley Pride or Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, your favorites, because those are the songs you’d play on the drives out to Mill B.
Some of your favorite memories were of all those long weekends going to high school rodeos when Brooke and I were in school. Our favorites memories ended up melding together, a way you and I could continue to connect, even in my angsty, brooding, teenage years (sorry about those years?).
It was never really about rodeo. For me, it was time with you, and I always enjoyed the drives all over the state because we’d talk, play name that tune, and Brooke and I converted you to AC/DC (how many times did you end up playing “Thunderstruck” on your own accord, hm?), and you converted us to Steve Earle.
And then, a few years later, I introduced you to the music of Rob Thomas, and we eventually shared a lifelong crush on him. Two and a half years ago, Shawn, Lily, and I got to take you to see Rob in Denver one last time. Carolyn told me you had said it was one of the greatest trips of your life, and I wish, Dad, I wish we could do it again.
I’ve been continuing to take you on my musical journeys for the past six months, and there’s a song I wish you could hear. At first listen, it seems like a love song. But it has become my song for grieving.
“They say, twenty-one days until I don’t miss you.” But like a broken record or a song on repeat, those twenty-one days have lasted six months and will stretch until forever.
“21 Days” by Brian Fallon