Monthly Archives: December 2016

Take Me There

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Radio days…

This time of year always brings with it a tsunami-sized wave of nostalgia, memories of holiday seasons past and the people who fill those memories.  Sights, smells, flavors and especially sounds, fill my head and heart with both laughter and longing as I recall the many hours I spent “on the board” working in radio stations playing Christmas songs in the solitude of a tiny studio, music unheard at any other time of year except in my memories.

Working on the air was, for me, a chance to touch people without ever seeing them.  Different from live performance in that I spoke to an audience I couldn’t see, radio also allowed my listeners to imagine what I might be like without ever laying eyes on me.  I had regular callers at every station I worked for who, for the most part, were friendly, polite and respectful…even those who flirted and asked me out, sight unseen!  There were also occasional callers who made me feel uncomfortable, even threatened.  Anyone who has ever been on the air has experienced such things, especially my fellow “lady jocks”.  We all have stories to tell!

I’ve been out of the business for a long time now, but listening to the radio this time of year always takes me back to specific times and places.  I can’t hear Dan Fogelberg’s “Same Auld Lang Syne” without being transported to the top of Sharps Ridge, remembering the view from the studio window…often with my friend Ron visiting after finishing his own air shift at another radio station across town, drinking coffee and smiling at me from across the console.  This is the same Ron with whom I shared my shortest radio gig and built one of my longest friendships, until he passed away last year. That relationship is not over…it’s just changed until we’re in the same place again.

A simple song can take me there.

The synth intro to Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmastime” immediately returns me to my first radio gig in a tiny building in the Florida panhandle.  I worked in the AM studio where I played Southern Gospel music and preaching/teaching programs, while next door the FM station aired “Light Rock & A Little Country”, hence the Paul McCartney holiday offering.  I cut my radio teeth there, learning how to do everything the old-school way because of the antiquated equipment I worked with.  My real-life husband and my first ever “work husband” worked on the FM side, with the work husband and me sharing a shift time and often standing in each others’ studio doors talking and laughing between songs on automation.

A simple song can take me there.

Music is such an evocative force in my life, whether I am singing it or listening to it.  The music I played during my radio days is especially poignant.  Those sounds bring to mind both the places and the people with whom I shared them.

A simple song can always take me there.

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(At my first radio gig, Circe 1989)

 

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Alone

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Strength and struggle…

I am having a hard time right now.  It’s not easy to admit this, as I am usually “the strong one” and “the good girl”.  People come to me with their troubles, secrets and struggles.  And usually that’s fine.

Sometimes, though, I am given information that I don’t need, or want, to know.  Sometimes people tell me things they wouldn’t even tell their best friend.  Does this make me a real friend to them, or just a dumpster for something they needed to purge?

I haven’t been my best self lately for a number of reasons.  I’ve been distracted, preoccupied, unfocused.  Not feeling like a strong woman or a good girl.  Sometimes I wish I could stop time and escape from reality for a day, or even just a few hours.

I don’t want so much to lose control as much as just to…relinquish it, if only for a little while.  I want to surrender to the strength of someone else.  I want it to be OK for me to be vulnerable, even weak.

Being too strong for too long just leaves a person feeling alone.  I know I’m not truly alone, but my struggles are mine alone.  Nobody can live my life, walk my path or fight my demons except me.  And some days, I don’t have much fight left.

It will work itself out in time.  I’ll find my strength again.  And I’ll return to being my best self, intact for the people I care for, and able to care for them properly once more.

Just not today.

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