Fun, Fun, Fun

with my mom and dad at The Beach Boys

When I was a little girl, I spent a couple of weeks every summer at my grandparents’ farm.  I’ve mentioned before some of the activities and chores involved in a stay at the farm – egg gathering, exploring Nanny’s freezer for food older than I was, and working on my Uncle Wierdie’s “Ship” Shoveling Crew.  One of my favorite things to do, though, was lay on my belly in front of their stereo and listen to Nanny’s 8-track tape of the Beach Boys.

I was a pretty sheltered preacher’s kid.  I went to a Christian school my whole life, and we didn’t have a television in our home during a large chunk of my childhood.  So it’s probably safe to say that I’d never heard of the Beach Boys until I was seven or eight years old.

I remember playing those songs over and over, listening, and thinking it was the most wonderful thing I’d ever heard.  It must have driven my grandmother crazy, but all I remember is Nanny occasionally coming into the living room and shimmying to the music, laughing her head off the whole time.

Those songs are on my iPhone now.  A couple of years ago, I mentioned to my son that Paul McCartney once said he thought “God Only Knows” is the most perfect song ever recorded.  We listened to it together, and my son said in almost a reverent tone, “I wonder how they did that.”

I never in a million years thought that I would get to see those old guys in concert.  But somehow, the stars aligned and the surviving members of that original five are doing a 50th anniversary reunion tour.  I got to hear them last night.

Aside from the fact that Brian Wilson had to be helped on and off stage, you wouldn’t have known they’d gotten old.  Then again, the abundance of walkers, canes, and hearing aids in the audience was a dead giveaway.

I went with a group of friends from my neighborhood, and I sat next to my parents.  Now, my dad has never been known as a partying kind of guy.  And no one who knows the man will dispute my claim that when it comes to dancing, he’s the whitest white guy on the planet.  I looked over at him during “Be True to Your School,” and he was sitting in his chair with his hand cupped behind his ear trying to hear the song because he’s too damn stubborn to get a hearing aid.  But when I pointed out that he and the guy sitting next to him, who was hooked to an oxygen tank, were the only two people in the whole audience still seated, he actually stood up and shook his booty.  Kind of.

I was back on the farm lying on my belly and watching Nanny dance last night while they sang “Surfin’ USA.”  And that, I think, is the point of great music.  It takes you out of yourself.  It puts you in a happy time and place.  And it creates in our bodies what quantum physicists now tell us actually exist and what metaphysicians have always said is the necessary ingredient for making dreams come true – Good Vibrations.

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