Category Archives: country music

You’re Like Coming Home

Every time I hear this song, by Lonestar, I think of my husband.

While listening to it the other day, it occurred to me that people frequently ask the question ‘How did you know he/she was “the one”?’

In my life, I’ve had enough first dates that I don’t know the exact number – less than twenty, but enough that I can’t recall the number precisely since I didn’t bother to count. Out of that, I’ve had three second dates, and two marriages.

When I was dating, and more often than not refusing a second date with the latest man in question, I was frequently told I was too picky. I reject that notion out of hand – I’d rather be alone than with the wrong man. That may sound bizarre, but when I was on my own, I was just lonely. When I was with the wrong man, it was a constant reminder of what I’d had, but didn’t now have. It’s easier to bury the memories, I suppose, when you haven’t got something rubbing your nose in it and constantly reminding you.

Those are the reasons I didn’t bother with a second date often. If I didn’t feel that ‘click’ immediately, some ephemeral sense of ‘rightness’, I firmly believed it would never be there. Sure, you can grow companionship and a sense of familiarity, but what I was looking for was more than just that. Some might say I was searching for a great passion, a wild love, and to some degree I probably was, but that wasn’t the indefinable something for which I searched.

Some of those first dates never turned into second dates because he also wasn’t interested. A few people told me perhaps I should be more restrained in my personality when I went on a first date, which struck me as the most incredible advice ever. So… I should lie about who I am until… when? When is a good time to suddenly spring on someone that you’re not the person they thought you were?

Since my first marriage ended because my ex-husband turned out to have multiple personalities (see here for all the sordid details), I can attest to the fact there is never a good time to have that conversation. You’re left with a great sense of betrayal, of deception, and impossible uncertainty because suddenly you find yourself in a relationship with someone you don’t know. The best advice I can give you for dating is be yourself. Seriously. If your date doesn’t like you, then he/she isn’t the right person for you. The best gift you can give yourself is holding out for that person who loves you exactly as you are. I didn’t want to change myself. I wanted a man who loved me for what I am.

In any case, I think there is something in the fact that of the three second dates I had, two of them ended in marriage. Clearly one of those marriages ended in divorce, but I don’t blame myself for that. Something like 99% of marriages involving a spouse with mental illness end in divorce, and I did everything I possibly could to hold it together (at great personal expense). But I’ve also never wasted time on a relationship that didn’t feel right, that was never going anywhere, that was just ‘filling time’ as it were. I’ve heard people say things like ‘He’s nice enough, but I’m never going to marry him.’ Then what the hell are you doing dating him??

I knew on my first date with my second husband that it was right. There was a quality to those hours, a comfortableness, a familiarity, something that just made me want to stay. That did make me stay, long after I should have gone home, and even when we did part ways, I didn’t want to go. I had plans the next weekend – my friends were taking me out to get me drunk on what should have been my first wedding anniversary. But he wanted to see me, and I wanted to see him, and so I invited him along – and he came. And survived the experience, which is quite a feat, since my friends are an oddball bunch.

I can’t recall any other man I would have invited out with my friends on what was, essentially, a second date. I can only put that down to the sense of ‘rightness’ I felt, and I can only assume he agreed to come for the same reason. There was something there important enough to be pursued – that feeling was the only thing that got me out on a first date with him, seeing as it was only six months since I’d separated from my first husband. I’d met someone who was too good to not take a chance, even though I was still something of a mess.

I never analysed that feeling he gave me at the time. Emotionally wrecked as I was, that feeling was a soothing balm, and it was enough that I felt it, and recognised it, and it was good. It’s only now I reflect on it that I can put that feeling into words.

Honey – you’re like coming home.

What Is Country Music

I recently saw a post discussing the definition of country music. Now I’ll admit to being a fan, and as such, I am well aware that the question of what is and is not country music is one fraught with danger and controversy. We can talk about the sound, and the instruments, and so on, but for me country music boils down to a feeling. 

My favourite country songs all induce the same feeling, even though they may sound nothing alike, and may be at opposite ends of the spectrum of country music, and even decades apart. It’s a slow, happy, contented feeling. I suppose it’s a ‘home’ feeling, kind of like what you might get after arriving home after a lot of travelling – business travelling, not the fun recreational kind. It’s a feeling that makes everything better, even if I’ve had a crappy day. It’s a smile on my face, when I didn’t have the strength to muster one. 

One of the things I love so much about country music is how I relate to it. So many of the songs I listen to remind me of people or places, events or feelings, in my own life. Trace Adkins’ ‘Songs About Me’ and Brad Paisley’s ‘This Is Country Music’ really sum this up for me. I respect everyone’s right to listen to music of their choice, but I don’t understand, I mean genuinely don’t understand, how you can not like country music. I expect that says more about me than anyone else, and is likely a sign of how ‘naturally’ country music fits to me. Some of you out there are probably nodding in agreement.

One of the things I love the most about music is how it captures, in a few pithy lines, and a few sounds, a real feeling, a real concept. I’m a writer, so this is my stock in trade, but it takes me 105,000 words to convey a feeling (OK, lots of feelings, wrapped up in a big story, but anyway). The succinctness, the way a song cuts straight to the heart of a matter, is what really intrigues me. We can say so much with music. 

That being the case, here’s a few songs that capture something of some of my important relationships, in no particular order:

Dad – Dolly Parton ‘The Man’ and Tim McGraw’s ‘My Little Girl’.

Mum – Joe Nichols’ ‘We All Go Home‘ –  home is where your mother is, right?

My husband, Matt – Keith Urban’s ‘Making Memories of Us‘ and ‘Thank You‘.

My daughter – Kenny Chesney’s ‘There Goes My Life‘ – not that she was in anyway unplanned, but I can’t listen to this song right now without bawling my eyes out.

Nikki – Shanley Del ‘Old Friends‘. This one has reminded me of you for as long as I’ve been listening to it, and that’s a long time now, though not as long as we’ve known each other.

Erin – Gary Allen’s ‘Along the Way’ and Keith Urban’s ‘Tonight I Wanna Cry’ – not that this is the whole of our friendship, but it resonates for me in relation to our most recent chapter.

Kylie – Lonestar’s ‘Cowboy Girl‘,  and because we both speak Tim McGraw ‘My Old Friend‘.

Nicole – Garth Brooks’ ‘Standing Outside the Fire‘ – actually this one applies to me as well.

I’d love to have songs for all my new online friends as well, but I haven’t figured most of you out enough to match a song to you.

But for all my writer friends, the ones who’ve made it, and the one’s still slogging the hard slog, here’s a few for you:

Kenny Chesney’s ‘Hemingway’s Whiskey’.

Kenny Chesney’s ‘I Didn’t Get Here Alone’.

Trace Adkins’ ‘High‘.

If there’s anyone out there looking for a way to tell the ex who keeps coming back to go and stay gone, I recommend Brad Paisley’s ‘I’ll Take You Back‘.

For myself, I’ll take Brad Paisley’s ‘Too Country‘.

I don’t understand either, Brad.

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