Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

June 27, 2014

The soundtrack for my life


Kokomo Tribune

---- — If my life were a Hollywood movie, what would its soundtrack look like?

The answer: pretty random.

I realized on my long drive back to Southern Indiana last weekend that so many songs are forever tied to memories in my life.

Most of those are country songs because, well… I grew up on a farm where country music always played in the backdrop as we worked or played. There are a select few rock and Christian songs that evoke memories, too, though.

Kutless’ “What Faith Can Do” is like a beacon of hope for me. I heard it on the radio at the perfect moment – when I felt broken and lost five years ago.

I was driving home from the hospital late one night. My dad was there with a bad case of spinal meningitis. He was miserable and in bad shape, and I felt helpless. I was scared he might not make it. At the same time, my then-boyfriend told me he basically went on a pseudo-date with the girl he’d been in love with since high school.

I was angry and sad when I heard the Christian band sing, “Anyone can feel the ache. You think it's more than you can take. But you're stronger, stronger than you know. Don't you give up now. The sun will soon be shining. You gotta face the clouds to find the silver lining.”

I’m almost certain I openly wept as I listened to those lyrics that felt tailored just for me that night.

Don’t worry. This column gets happier. I promise that was the only song on the list that made me cry. In fact, if you need a laugh, read on to the next song. You won’t regret it.

My sister is notorious for belting out her favorite songs around the house and messing up the lyrics in the process. So every time I hear AC/DC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long,” I’ll laugh as I imagine her rocking out to it and singing the words, “She was a fax machine. She kept her motor clean.”

I’m serious. She sang it that way for years without ever questioning why a band would sing about a fax machine.

If the next song seems really random, that’s because it is. Even I can’t explain how it became intertwined with a prominent childhood memory, but here it is nonetheless.

My mom and aunt used to take me and my cousins to visit this historic cemetery in the tiny town I was born in (even tinier than the tiny town I grew up in). We’d climb up the giant hill and pay our respects to people, including small children, who died in the late 1800s and early 1900s. I can’t explain why, but I think of that fond memory EVERY TIME I hear the 1993 Joe Diffie song, “Prop Me up beside the Jukebox (if I die).”

I can’t imagine the people buried there would have wanted people to fill their boots up with sand and put a stiff drink in their hands like that song says. Maybe I’m wrong, though.

When I see clouds of dust rolling off the fields as my dad and uncles plow up the land, I can’t help but think of Jason Aldean’s “Amarillo sky.”

That song feels like home.

“He just takes the tractor another round and pulls the plow across the ground and sends up another prayer,” the song says. “He says Lord I never complain I never ask why, but please don't let my dream run dry underneath, underneath this Amarillo sky.”

And Montgomery Gentry’s song “She don’t tell me to” feels like young love to me.

There’s a line in the song that says, “Every now and then on my way home, I stop at a spot where the wildflowers grow and I pick a few ‘cause she don’t tell me to.”

My very first boyfriend picked me up for a date in his yellow sports car one night, and that song came on the radio. In the middle of the song, he pulled off to the side of the road and picked some wildflowers for me.

His sweet romance taught me, a young impressionable girl at the time, how a man should treat a woman, and that song will always be a part of it.

I could go on forever with this song list, but you’re probably ready for me to wrap this up. Instead, I’ll encourage you to take a moment to create your own soundtrack. And I’d love to hear about those special songs that make you laugh and cry and remember the best parts of your childhood.

— Lindsey Ziliak

[friday] editor/ Random soundtrack creator