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Enjoying those Golden Oldies


I scoffed. What an idiot this presenter was to call these songs ‘oldies’. These songs cannot be more than and then I counted.

Honestly, I don’t know how our parents could handle it. For a period while we were growing up, a road trip would mean the wide, open road with the music selected to suit the taste of the adults.

There we would be, travelling down to wherever and Johnny Mathis, Shirley Bassey, Engelbert Humperdinck and the like would be crooning us on our way. The music seemed to shorten the journey.

It relaxed the driver and eased the tensions in the car.

We, the children, didn’t mind the music. In fact, I doubt that we even noticed it. The songs faded into the background as we watched the scenery, watched the scenery and watched more scenery go by.

Back then we did not have entertainment systems or cellular devices in our vehicles. There were seats and windows and that’s where the entertainment ended.

So there were three ways to enjoy a road trip. You could either eat some of the padkos – there always had to be food packed in metal cake tins when we took a trip, seeing as there were very few places on our roads back then where you could buy something to eat. The second option was that we could watch the scenery and play “I spy”, and thirdly you had the option of going to sleep.

As the years passed, carefree days of childhood gave way to the pre-teen years which quickly hatched a crop of moody, entitled teenagers. And suddenly Charles Aznavour, Vera Lynn and Chet Atkins were no longer good enough.

We needed our own tunes, our own ‘cool’ music on the road.

So it was a case of out with the old, and in with the new.

Soon my brother started preparing music for our trips. After a while, I joined him. We would sit and select tracks and record them to cassette – only our favourites, only the best music made the cut.

We would now drive listening to the smooth sounds of Queen, Simon and Garfunkel, The Bee Gees and more of the ‘modern’ artists. A few years went by and then we were listening to Journey, Boston and Van Halen. As our moods shifted so did our tastes. We vacillated between pop music and Motown, British new wave and American soul.

And those days just flew on by, until the other day when I was listening to a radio station where the radio jock said he was going to play some ‘Golden Oldies’. The first song he played was Bridge Over Troubled Water by Simon and Garfunkel.

Next, he played Me and Mrs Jones, by Billy Paul.

I scoffed. What an idiot this presenter was to call these songs ‘oldies’. These songs cannot be more than and then I counted.

Bridge Over Troubled Water was released in January 1970, that’s over 50 years ago! Me and Mrs Jones, the Billy Paul version, came out in 1972. Queen’s A Night at the Opera, featuring Bohemian Rhapsody saw the light in November 1975. Even Duran Duran’s Union of the Snake is almost 40 years old by now.

Incidentally, the album Wonderful Wonderful by Johnny Mathis was released in 1957.

This means that at the time that I thought that my parents’ music was ancient garbage the songs off that album weren’t even 30 years old yet.

Now that we are all nice and depressed, wondering where the time has gone, I think it’s the perfect time to say what I did when I realised how time had flown.

I started appreciating the moments. You see, the only reason I have memories of our family road trips is that I experienced those road trips. The reason I remember the old songs is because I listened to them.

So, I reasoned, why not continue making memories? And I did. Recently I planted some herbs. As I write this, my parsley is looking healthy but my garlic died.

The point is, I realised that our lives are made up of moments and the more of those moments we use to do something special, enjoyable and important, the less chance there will be for us one day to regret the fact that we wasted too many of them.

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