It all started with KMart.
One of my first jobs in high school was as a stockboy for the Martha Stewart-friendly, now bankrupt, pre-Walmart mart. Kmart has it’s own radio network that is piped in over the store speakers and while I was working there, the music was of two types: country music and country Christmas music. As the hillbilly laden earwigs of country music burrowed into my head day after day, I eventually grew to like the music. My very first CD was an Alan Jackson CD that featured the song “Chatahoochie,” which disappointingly is about a river, not a talkative woman of the night. Since then, summer has usually meant country music for me.
A few years later I was working at a local grocery store and would go sit in my car at lunch and listen to country music because it was all I could get in the parking lot. One of my favorite songs at that time was Tracy Byrd’s “Wtermelon Crawl.” There’s just something about summer that seems to mesh well with country music. I’ve always thought summer is represented well by rural areas, though this may be the result of extensive exposure to Countrytime lemonade commercials.
If this wasn’t enough to solidify me as a summer southerner, we can add the KCQ Summer Music Festival to the mix. My dad, raised on a farm in the south, has always been a fan of country music, and this is the only bonding we get outside of action movies because neither of us hunt or fish and I’m about as qualified to help with home and car repair as a blind, dog with no legs. All of the shows have been good, and after a couple of years we got our system worked out well enough that we know exactly when to show up and where to go to find the best seats.
Currently, my favorite country songs this summer are Dierks Bentley’s “A Lot of Leavin’ Left to Do,” SheDaisy’s “Don’t Worry ‘Bout a Thing,” Toby Keith’s “Honkey Tonk U” and Faith Hill’s return to real country with “Mississippi Girl.”
So there you have it, my dirty summer secret. And no, I’ve never worn cowboy boots…I don’t care what you think you see in my graduation pictures. Now if you’ll excuse me I have to get back to the barbecue they’re having for us at work. One thing the cubicle environs of the business world do well is food. I’ve only been here less than a month yet I’ve eaten close to four years worth of birthday and retirement cake. Not to count the other free goodies that go floating around…