Something’s Missing

With the nice weather I’ve had a chance to spend a lot of time outside. We’ve either walked around the neighborhood or played the with kids in the yard. The last couple times we’ve walked, I couldn’t help but think that something was missing.

I hear the usual sounds on our walks:

  • Singing birds
  • Barking dogs
  • Kids at recess
  • Woodpeckers knocking on trees
  • Motorcycles
  • Lawn mowers

These are sounds I have heard all my life in the spring and summer. The thing that was missing goes to show the progress of technology I suppose.

Growing up, weekends were spent mostly outside. I recall vividly that Saturday afternoons, my dad would pull out a big bucket, huge sponge, and the garden hose and wash the car.

It was also the day that he’d pull out the lawnmower and cut the grass. All the yardwork was done on the weekends.

Toward the end of the day, dinner was prepared on the grill. Burgers, hot dogs, or grilled chicken would be typical weekend menu items.

These things all still happen today, but in most cases, something is missing – Music.

When dad washed the car – we’d listen to Casey Kasem and American Top 40. When dad mowed the lawn or did work out in the yard, the radio would be sitting on the cement by the garage blaring music. The music would continue as dad flipped burgers on the grill. Sometimes it was music, sometimes it was a Detroit Tiger game. The radio was always on and the sounds from it interspersed with the other sounds I mentioned earlier.

There was a guy outside on our walk yesterday who was waxing his freshly washed car with no music whatsoever. The guy we saw grilling was just standing there staring off into space. He took a second to say hello as we passed, but then went right back to staring. Then there was the guy shoveling some dirt and working in the yard. He had ear buds in, so there was music, but only he could hear it.

I guess one of the things I loved about music being everywhere as we grew up was the discovery of new music. Everyone’s radios were tuned to whatever they wanted to hear. The sounds of pop music, oldies music, rock music, country music and more all screamed from the speakers of boom boxes, car speakers, and cabinet speakers from a stereo system. As I’d pass a house, it was often possible to hear a song I had never heard before. This would lead to a trip to the local record store to find it.

Don’t get me wrong, I love being able to hear the songs of the birds and children playing, but that sound from a distant speaker is one I miss. To be fair, I still get my fair share of music on walks, because my daughter is often singing “The Wheels on the Bus” or “Mary Had a Little Lamb” at the top of her lungs. Come to think of it, that may be the only music I need …