Showing posts from October, 2013

Remembrance of T-Shirts Past

There is nothing quite like digging in old closets, through shirts and sweaters like past shrift. A confession of sorts is in the hem and stitch of each garment. Myriad stains on white shirts mingle with frayed collars and dust bunnies. The shelves look forlorn in half-light. Those old clothes look alone even in abundance, each telling a different story about the minuscule and the larger. Moments are defined by those old shirts. So are basic daily decisions. Some are transitory and momentary. They are gone in months. They may fit wrong or remind us of a lost love. Perhaps they fall apart in multiple washes or bleach out in the sun. Some hang much longer, years even, before they are folded and put in drawers or donated to become part of other lives. They mean something more to us. Something as simple as comfort, as undefined as fashion, as amiable as a cool slogan or pattern. These things matter to us as we scan the tired folds. A new shirt is too clean, too loose, too inanimate. Not …

Cal Smith: "So Long, Country Bumpkin"

Cal Smith, born Calvin Grant Shofner on April 7, 1932, died on October 10. He was best known for the 1974 hit, "Country Bumpkin." A tangible part of my childhood, the song still echoes in my head whenever pumpkins are displayed or the newest batch of Pumpkin ales hits the store shelves. 
Where I grew up in Northern Wisconsin, the old Blues Brothers adage rang true that there were two kinds of music, "country and western." My parents always listened to country music in our house (My mom preferred '90s country radio) and there was always a bunch of western in there as well.(Mostly from my dad). I remember hearing "Streets of Bakersfield" often drifting from car radios and home stereos. I developed an early attraction to some of these songs, even though years later I would hide it behind a sheen of four chords and punk rock. A secret shadow self of country knowledge and Western Swing bravado remained, only unsheathed for music trivia and in the dark reces…