From sweet and smooth classics, to new names, to old names with new music...the focus here, is to shine a little light on some damn fine music.

I'll find it. You can listen, review, or tell me I wouldn't know good music if it kicked me in the ass. I personally don't give a shit.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Minutes to Memories: Celebrating My Dad's Life

Dad's Hohner
If you've been reading Kat's Theory of Life along with this music blog, you know I have been chronicling my fathers'  no-win battle against pancreatic cancer. He lost that fight on Tuesday. His final chapter appears in the Life blog, but because to me music is life, I wanted to celebrate the life he led, the lessons he taught and the love he shared.

The song I've chosen defines the character of my father.

"Minutes to Memories" by John Mellencamp
I had tears in my eyes the first time I heard this song...and every time I've heard it since. It has always made me think of my father. An old man tries to impart the wisdom of his years on a young stranger sitting next to him on a long bus ride.  It always reminded me of times growing up, when I, as all of us do, thought I had all the answers. 

"On a Greyhound thirty miles beyond Jamestown
He saw the sun set on the Tennessee line
Looked at the young man who was riding beside him
He said I'm old kind of worn out inside

I worked my whole life in the steel mills near Gary
My father before me I helped build this land
Now seventy-seven and with God as my witness
I earned every dollar that passed through my hands

My family and friends are the best things I've known
Through the eye of the needle I'll carry them home"

The man talks of his hard working life, same as my father who did hard factory work all his life. A career path he chose over the medical field he loved...because what was more important to him, was to have a family.

"The rain hit the old dog in the twilight's last gleaming
He said 'Son it sounds like rattling old bones
This highway is long but I know some that are longer
By sunup tomorrow I guess I'll be home'

Through the hills of Kentucky 'cross the Ohio river
The old man kept talking 'bout his life and his times
He fell asleep with his head against the window
He said an honest man's pillow is his peace of mind

This world offers riches and riches will grow wings
I don't take stock in those uncertain things"

Days turn to minutes
And minutes to memories
Life sweeps away the dreams
That we have planned
You are young and you are the future
So suck it up and tough it out
And be the best you can"

The line "an honest man's pillow is his peace of mind." That was my dad. It was no coincidence he was born on February 12... "Honest Abe" Lincoln's birthday.

"The old man had a vision but it was hard for me to follow
I do things my way and I pay a high price
When I think back on the old man and the bus ride
Now that I'm older I can see he was right

Another hot one out on highway eleven
This is my life It's what I've chosen to do
There are no free rides No one said it'd be easy
The old man told me this my son i'm telling it to you"

Isn't this the truth of each generation? Not too long after we realize we don't have all the answers, we see our children with the same familiar swagger and bravado. And we watch them learn through trial and error just like us.

Days turn to minutes
And minutes to memories
Life sweeps away the dreams
That we have planned
You are young and you are the future
So suck it up and tough it out
And be the best you can"

He toughed is out every day of his life and he was the best he could be...always.

That is my song for my dad. Here are a few of his favorites. Except for my brother, I can almost guarantee no one reading this will have heard of most of these songs. And since my brother never reads anything I write, these songs will be a new experience for all of you.

Harry Belafonte  "Jamaica Farewell" of my earliest musical memories was of my dad strumming his guitar and singing this song to me. 
Eddy Howard  "To Each His Own" parents' song.
Terry Gilkyson  "Marianne" ...a silly song he would play on the guitar, I never forgot the name of the singer.
Roy Acuff  "Wabash Cannonball" ...perhaps the song we associate the most with my father. you can't beat a song written about a train
Andy Williams "Hawaiian Wedding Song" ...after five trips to hawaii, this was his song of choice
Lee Greenwood  "Battle Hymn of the Republic" mother said he knew the words to all the verses, something I never did.

That was my dad. His journey is complete. His life was hard at times, but I know for certain he regretted none of the choices he made. Thanks so much for coming along on this part of the road trip.

Easy journey Pops.



  1. What a wonderful tribute to your dad. Well done. Believe it or not, I do know the last 3 songs on your list! :)

    You're in my prayers, my friend.