What is your heritage?
This seems to be a frequent question that comes up in conversation lately. I think most of it is fueled by the new ads that I and many other people have seen on television. These are the ads where they say you can send in a DNA sample to trace back what ethnicities you have in your bloodline.
Many people have a proud heritage and culture, and many people are enthralled by finding out where they came from. My maternal grandmother is and always has been one of the latter group.
Myself? I don’t know anything about where I came from. Honestly, I didn’t have any idea on where to start looking until recently.
This weekend I discovered what makes me who I am.
My family and I visited my parents this weekend, and we picked up my grandmother on the way. We went up on Saturday morning and returned on Labor Day.
While we were there we jaunted around town going out to eat and visiting new parks for the kids to play at. We went to the movies and cooked out on Sunday.
That night my mother, wife, grandmother and I were winding down on the back porch when we got to reminiscing about the trips we had gone on in our lifetime. Of course, this conversation led to talking about the musicians and songs we would listen to along the way.
At some point, someone pulled up YouTube on their phone, and we started listening to all of those old songs. We picked out some of my grandmother’s favorites to throw in the mix as well.
We listened to everything from Kris Kristopherson to Bruce Springsteen and Ernest Tubb to The Eagles, and we loved every minute of it. I never knew we had such a generational love for all of the same music.
My grandmother told us about how, in their youthful days, she and my grandfather would gather at people’s houses to listen to country records like “Walkin’ the Floor” by Ernest Tubb and dance.
“And this was back when country music wasn’t a very popular thing,” she said, referencing the state of music in the late 1950s.
This was a pretty surprising fact coming from someone who grew up in a very proper Vermont town. Even more surprising was discovering that my grandmother and I shared a love for the very same country artist without ever knowing it.
That entire evening got me thinking about how I could tie so many things about who I am back to music. My father cranking up “Born to Run” on an old stereo. Listening to “Bobby McGee” while exploring the Lewis and Clark trail with my grandmother. My mother driving my brother and me to little league practice playing the Counting Crows on repeat. My brother and I creating a new song of our own.
That’s when I found it. Music is the universal, ageless language. Music is my heritage. It is the building block of who I am, and music is what runs through my bloodline. My heritage is Bruce Springsteen, Ernest Tubb, Johnny Cash, George Jones and the list goes on. For every song I know, I’ve got a memory of someone I love.
It may not be much. It may be pretty unusual. But you know what? It works for me.
Reach Matt Moran at 580-482-1221, ext. 2071 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.