I’ve always been a huge fan of music. As a kid, I would listen to the radio for hours. And as a teenager, I spent hours trying to make mixtapes of my favorite songs. I know, that dates me, but I don’t care. It was where I felt the happiest.
Some of my favorite memories from when I was a kid was laying in bed at night when I was supposed to be sleeping and listening to the radio. I’d even sleep with it under my pillow. I loved to scan through the AM stations and see how far away I could pick them up from. Does that make sense? I loved hearing the radio announcers say they were from someplace in Nebraska, or maybe they were from Chicago. At the time I was just a little boy living in the Ozarks in Missouri and I hadn’t traveled much beyond that; so getting to hear people from far-off places was exciting.
My musical interests were all over the place. I loved country music but I’d also listen to many other genres as well. All through my life that has never changed. I still to this day have a wide variety of music that I love.
Another thing I remember well as a child was watching old shows on TV about The Grand Ole Opry, Hee-Haw, and other country singing shows that showed old-time country music. I grew up hearing about The Opry and the Ryman Auditorium. Then the first week of January 2023 I was in Nashville. We had been at an amazing coffee shop called Elixr and afterward, we went out to walk around. As we rounded the corner I saw it, right there in front of me, The Ryman Auditorium. I didn’t know I was so close to it and it took me by surprise.
I stood there looking at it for what seemed like a long time but was probably not even a minute. I had tears in my eyes as I was flooded with so many memories. I took a picture (see below). I was almost in shock at seeing it because I wasn’t expecting it. We crossed the street and looked around the outside. I would have jumped at the chance to go in, but it was closed. However, being able to walk around it was almost just as good!
And the next day we were watching a past season of The Amazing Race, it was the finale and they were in Nashville. Where was the finish line? In the Ryman Auditorium. Do we live in a simulation or what?
I kept having an overwhelming feeling of nostalgia. I think that’s what made me tear up. Because music is a time machine now. It takes me back to being a child again with that radio under my pillow. I’m sitting on the floor again at my grandma’s house while hee-haw is on. It’s the memories I have wrapped around my love for music that keep me loving it so much.