Whenever my son comes with a black box, I know I’m going to be pressured into a new electronic gimmick the learning of which, considering a human’s normal lifespan, can’t be amortized in my schedule. And I’ll have to learn more than I want to know about something.
“What’s ROKU?” I asked him, guessing it was probably a Chinese soup or a new dog food. Well, the little black box added multiple channels to my already overloaded TV, meaning I would have to add two more hours of TV watching to amortize his investment. Waste not, want not, you know.
The first channel I hit was country-western music, something I used to watch faithfully in my younger days. Because of DVD technology, they now play music from 1947 when Ernest Tubb was walking the floor over you and Roy Acuff was singing about some great speckled bird.
Some of my old favorites are gone. Jim Reeves, Cowboy Copas and Patsy Cline were killed in plane crashes. Ernest Tubb is gone waltzing across Texas and was last seen in Flagstaff. (Give the old guy a break. He didn’t have GPS on his guitar.)
Anne Murray was the first singer to appear on my ROKU. She was singing for someone to help her make it through the night. So were 21 other country singers. They just need to quit drinking before going to bed.
And I always thought she was a nice innocent girl from Nova Scotia. I wonder what her mother thinks about that song. Actually, she wasn’t making a proposal for sex. She was really lonesome. (Come on, clean up your mind.)
But Anne has such a sweet mellow voice she could sing anything and you would love it. If someone wrote the lyrics for “The Manure Spreader Was Broke So We Couldn’t Go to the Prom,” she could sing it and it would be No.1 on the charts the next morning.
If you think that is a weird song, think of “I Woke Up Still Not Dead Again Today.” Most country-western songs are tragedies put to music. In fact, country-western folks sing things they wouldn’t dare say in public.
If you plan to go to a country-western show, bring your own towel. Love is an absolute disaster and there are folks crying in the aisles with every heartbreaking verse. Apparently, wherever there is love there is hurt. In country music even the instruments are the crying kind.
“I’m Afraid of Losing You Again,” “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain,” “I Can’t Help It If I’m Still in Love with You,” “I’m Not Lisa,” “You Picked A Fine Time To Leave Me, Lucille,” etc. etc. etc. and more etc. I think a country-western concert would be a good place for the Catholic Church to recruit priests.
Then there is this bit of wisdom Kris Kristofferson put in “Me and Bobbie McGee”: “Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose; nothing ain’t worth nothing but it’s free.” Tell me how that relates to Bobbie McGee? Better yet, tell me how that relates to anything rational.
As the darling of the Evangelicals, vocalist Amy Grant was severely criticized for getting divorced to marry Vince Gill who got a divorce to marry Amy. She answered the criticism by saying “that’s what grace is all about.”
Rubbing God’s nose in His gift of grace did not sit well with churchy people. In fact, I didn’t forgive her for 15 years. It took me that long to realize that we all rub God’s nose in it every day.
Lloyd Omdahl is a former UND professor and state lieutenant governor.