Monday, July 19, 2010

The Sound-Track of My Life

Well, today is an attempt to define or delineate our life by songs or music. When I suggested this I thought it was a good idea. Now I am not so sure how to do this. I have decided to chronicle the major points of my live by various songs. I don’t know if this is what I or Lee at Tossing Out hand in mind but here goes.

1. “Folsom Prison Blues” (Johnny Cash) I was born February 3, 1955 –was a major hit in 1955 -

1955 was one of the most prolific years for new artists, many of whom would revolutionize country music. Some of the more prominent names were Johnny Cash, George Jones, Elvis Presley and Porter Wagoner; it was also the year one of the best-known duos ever — the Louvin Brothers (Charlie and Ira) — would join the Grand Ole Opry. Many of them would go on to record and popularize the best known songs in the genre, and have recording careers that lasted for decades. It would be more than 30 years before another gifted group this prominent would rise to fame and create a revolution in country music.

I chose this song because Johnny Cash and Hank Williams were among the first singers I can remember in my young childhood memories. This song is his signature song. It was hot on the charts when I was born.

2. “Tulare Dust” (Merle Haggard) I moved with my family to California in December of 1966. –

This was a great song by Merle Haggard and an experience of moving to Tulare, CA during the dust bowl period. I love the Hag and his songs about moving, starting over, and the experience of a new place. Of course anything the Hag does its great!

My dad wanted a better life for his family than what he felt he could give us from being a machinist in the Columbiana County/Youngstown/Pittsburgh steel mills. With regular labor strikes, an abundance of workers for fewer jobs, and the hard dangerous work, my dad decided to apply for a position with the Lockheed Corporation in Sunnyvale, CA. What a day that was for an 11 year Ohio boy to get in the car for a long drive to a new place called California. It was like a fairy tale and we were moving to the promised land.

3. “Just as I Am” (Miss Charlotte Elliott) I was born again April of 1972–

Charlotte Elliot was visiting some friends in the West End of London, and there met the eminent minister, C├ęsar Malan. While seated at supper, the minister said he hoped that she was a Christian. She took offense at this, and replied that she would rather not discuss that question. Dr. Malan said that he was sorry if had offended her, that he always liked to speak a word for his Master, and that he hoped that the young lady would someday become a work­er for Christ. When they met again at the home of a mutual friend, three weeks later, Miss Elliott told the minster that ever since he had spoken to her she had been trying to find her Savior, and that she now wished him to tell her how to come to Christ. “Just come to him as you are,” Dr. Malan said. This she did, and went away rejoicing. Shortly afterward she wrote this hymn.

After attending evening services in our local church, the United Baptist Church of San Jose, CA where Dr. Larry Chappell preached a message on the assurance of our eternal salvation. Not sensing or having evidence of salvation in my life I talked with an adult that evening and I trusted Jesus Christ as my savior. This song, though much abused by many people always reminds me that God accepted me in Christ and by His work on Calvary just as I was, a sinner, condemned, and without hope in this world.

4. “Marine Corps Hymn” (unknown Marine while on duty) I joined the Marine Corps in October 1972 -

Most people don’t know the “last verse” of the Marine Corps Hymn. Let me share that with you.

If the Army and the Navy
ever look on heaven’s scenes
They will find the streets are guarded
 by United States Marines

I was unhappy with being a high school junior, my home life, and my personal life in late 1972. I had tried to run away from home the year earlier only to be brought back. By the way, my parents were good Godly parents who gave us a great home. I learned later I was running from God and from myself. Marine Corps did me good! I enjoyed my time and they helped a confused, rebellious, undisciplined teen-ager grow in to a man and a Marine. Once a Marine always a Marine - I still stand for the Star Spangled Banner and the Marine Corps Hymn. I was a 5711, a Nuclear, Biological, Chemical Warfare Specialist. I was assigned to HMM 261, HMH 461, VMA 211 and VMA 311 in my career. I served in NC, Okinawa, Japan, the Philippines, and SC. I served as a Training NCO and as an Operations Clerk. No, I wasn't Radar.

5. “Wedding March” (Mendelssohn) I was married June 18, 1973 -

I met Irene in Mexican-American History class at Andrew Hill High School. We went together off and on for three years in high school. We got re-acquainted after I joined the Marine Corps. We eventually got engaged. One day I woke up in Jacksonville, NC and telephoned Irene in San Jose, CA and said catch the next flight to NC so we could get married. She did, she told her folks she was going to get married and had her sister drive her to the San Jose Airport and she flew to Jacksonville, NC. We have now been married for 37 years. I love my wife and I love being married. When that song began to play in that little baptist church, I turned to look down that aisle, I saw the most beautiful and wonderful girl walking toward me in white I melted. I can still see that 19 year old girl in her K-Mart dress walking down the aisle to be my wife!

6. “Pitty Pitty Patter of Little Bity Feet.” (Don Rich) I have four daughters, Shannon born 1974; Sonja born  1976; Sharon born 1981; and Stacy born 1982. -

"Well, the pitty, pitty, patter of a little bitty feet's
Gonna pitty, pitty, patter through our house
A gonna be a comin' in June, gonna stop our honeymoon
'Cause the pitty, pitty, patter of a little bitty feet's."

I was overseas in the Philippines when Shannon was born. I was sick and sent home from the hospital when Sonja was born. I was in the delivery room for both Sharon and Stacy’s birth. I chose this song because it really says a lot about how life changes in a major way when the sound of those little bity feet hit the floor. Bottles, feedings, changings, and spittin up - those wonderful gifts of God change your life!

7. “I Surrender All” (J.W. Van Deventer) I surrendered to the gospel ministry August 1978 –

I knew shortly after I was converted I was called to preach the gospel. I ran from this call for a number of years, including the years I ran oops I meant spent in the Marine Corps. In August of 78 I tired of God’s campaign to bring me into his service and I surrendered to anything God led me to do. As a result I have started one church, served as an interim pastor of a church and served as Teaching pastor of 3 other churches.

I have always loved this song - I have tried to give my all, family, friends, finances, and future to my Lord and Savior. I have and continue to surrender all to Him, all to Him I owe my life.

8. “Crazy ‘Bout an Automobile” (Ry Cooder) I sold cars from November of 1995 to April of 2003 -

Due to family issues I decided to resign from a six year pastorate in Federal Way, WA. Needing a new career, I talked with the dealer where I had previously purchased my cars. The Dealer thought I could  sell cars honestly and I thought this would be a temporary gig. I sold cars for several years rising to General Sales Manager. I love cars. You would be shocked to learn how many cars and trucks I have had in my life time. I love the old 50 to late 60's "muscle" cars. I have been that typical American who has had a "love affair" with cars.

This song is about a guy in Santa Cruz who wanted to go out with a girl and all she could see was his "heels", in other words he had no car, so she had not time. I didn't really become a "shaker and a mover" in high school until I got my second car, a 1962 Cadillac Convertible. We would put the top down, cruise for chicks, and head to the Santa Cruz Beach and boardwalk. I have had four convertibles in my life and there is nothing like putting the top down and cruising.

9. “Haggard and Jones” (G Metcalf and T.Watts) I co-wrote an award winning song in 1999 –

I developed a concept in 1999 to honor my two favorite singers, George Jones and Merle Haggard. The song was called Haggard and Jones. The lyrics were nearly finished and needed the music added. I found a great guy in Florida who agreed to supply music. He changed some of the words, provided great music, and as an afterthought entered the song in a music contest where we won second place. Our song was sung and played by session musicians in Nashville on an album entitled Country Nights.

This was a very special event for me. I have heard some of my songs sung by local "garage" type bands when I was younger and in the bar scene. But to have a CD in my hand with my words on it sung by Nashville session musicians, that was like winning the lotto!

10. “To Blog or Not Blog” (A You Tube song) I began blogging in February of 2009. This will be my 422nd post. This song can describe the on going question of what is bloggable? I chose it though it hasn't been released anywhere other than you tube because blogging has had a major impact on my life. I love this medium for teaching and edification. I pour my heart and soul into most of my blogs for God's glory and the good of my readers.


Carol Fleisher said...

Great list. I love how you intergrated the songs with facts about your life. Good job.

RCUBEs said...

Every time I would try to research something about inmates or prison for my post, Prison Folsom Blues always comes up and I knew it must be a great hit! And that was no.1 in your list today. Great lists and it's neat that you tied it with your life's journey. Have a great week and God bless and protect you.


Very interesting list. I can most relate to number 3. At one time I think this was the theme song for every Baptist church in the country. This song always reminds me of the Billy Graham Crusades.

Lloyd said...

What a list you have there Gregg. The funny thing about it is that I can relate to each one except I would have to put "Anchors Away" in the spot for military service. God's blessings too you. Lloyd

JD Curtis said...

Bueutiful post. What an interesting life you have led.

We sang I Surrender All in church just yesterday.

arlee bird said...

This is the most literal list I've seen so far and it's pretty cool. I thought this would be a great way to get to know other bloggers better and for the most part this has been true. I wanted to find a song to express my blog life, but couldn't think of one.
Thanks for a great list.

Tossing It Out

Gregg said...

Carol Fleisher - Thank you! I am glad you liked it and found it to be interesting!

RCUBEs - Folsom Prison Blues was hot! Thanks for reading and seeing how it did fit into my life's journey.

OG - It is an interesting list. I know about Just As I Am, I hate it that is so abused - but I love the song.

Lloyd - It is quite a list. Anchors Away? Well, I guess not everybody can be a Marine!

JD Curtis - God has been good to me. I have seen a lot, done alot, experienced a lot - you don't know the half of it. I have had a good life these 55 years. If it ended today I woudn't have any complaints.

Arlee Bird - I tried to be literal and I am glad you think it is cool. I hope that you do get to know me better. What a shame many who signed up didn't complete their list. But I have enjoyed the lists of those who did.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing these songs and along with them the parts of your life that make them so important. Wonderful.

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