Think I’ll just stay here and drink – as Merle Haggard put it. Nothing like a good country song from back home to get you in the mood to keep your distance.
Listen close and you can hear, the singsongy voices that twisted and puzzle-pieced our sacred thoughts into one 3 minute tune, as if they wrote the thing especially for you. For us.
This song was the perfect companion for a soft reflection of this past year. Yes, it’s been a year since we put on our fancy armor and ventured to these foreign lands to fight for ourselves, to share our stories, and to tap into the fountain of free flowing libations.
One year of peeking into the lives of those who welcomed us into their homes, set an extra place for us at the table, and filled our hearts with a familiar and uncomfortable kind of love.
One year of prancing around the latitudes and longitudes of South America, with just enough pesos to get out of town if the sirens went a ringin’, always enough to chase a pint down with a treat of fernet.
These past twelve months have put an extra notch on our belts, it has tested our morals and spit us out all pasty pale and disoriented. And through it all, we have survived. At first we were afraid, but if anyone dare asked, we were flying down south to petrify, stupify, and fly back to those ring-a-bell back alleys of that amazing bar. Back home.
Still far from home though. And the serendipitous playlist has fattened up like a happy, juicy, free range turkey preparing itself for the November feast, unbeknownst. With each foreign friend and enemy we’ve encountered this year, they’ve given us a piece of themselves, of their souls through their music. As such, the songs play on and we listen on. They all either call us home, or keep us flying onward.
I am reminded now of The California Ramblers 1920’s classic, “Show Me the Way to go Home” which stated:
Show me the way to go home, I’m tired and I wanna go to bed,
I had a little drink about an hour ago and it’s gone right to my head,
wherever I may roam, on land on sea or foam, you can always hear me singing this song,
show me the way to go home.
But the question of home being where the heart is fosters an undying flame in our bosom. Cooking us from the inside out. Giving off a smell of perfume covered bewilderment.
And just then, before the flames go flying out of our nips, right when there’s about a third of the song left, the melody shifts and a voice of reason chimes in to the tune of that old schoolgirl rhyme “Oh he’s a jolly good fellow…”
I won’t go home in the morning,
I won’t go home in the morning,
I won’t go home in the morning, I don’t know where I live.
Ah ha! Better then, to dream of returning home when the night comes and no one will take us in, in the morning.
And then there’s Pink Floyd’s reflective, mature, and sane 1980’s tune “Paranoid Eyes.”
You put on your brave face and slip over the road for a jar.
Fixing your grin as you casually lean on the bar,
Laughing too loud at the rest of the world
With the boys in the crowd
You can hide, hide, hide,
Behind petrified eyes.
True enough, this has happened several times while here; except the pie in the sky is right at our fingertips. And we won’t hide our ugly mugs. No, we will demand our mugs to be filled and overfilled, spilling into that of the others next to us. For good luck.
Finally, a fairly modern country song that rings true with the title alone, “Beers Ago,” by Toby Keith.
Drinking everything we could get our hands on
Learning ‘bout right by doin’ it wrong
Hopin’ we didn’t get caught
Happy to say we never did…
Seems like yesterday, even though
that was fourteen hundred and fifty two beers ago.
But let’s be honest, who’s counting…
Happy one year anniversary.
Here’s to one beer more.
We’re still alive and thirsty