Ask ten friends about their favourite genre of music and you may get six or seven choices. There is not a right and wrong answer because it is simply a matter of preference. Have you noticed that we tend to favour the music of our youth?
For me, that was southern gospel quartets. Our church would fill a rickety church bus and take us to concerts at QE High School Auditorium in Halifax. We cheered on the Oak Ridge Boys, The Imperials, The Couriers, Big John Hall, Jerry and the Singing Goffs, and many more. I will never forget the shivers that went up my spine as the Goffs sang “The King is Coming” and Jerry entered the rear of the auditorium playing his trumpet.
My Dad loved the music of Gene Autry, “The Singing Cowboy,” — when songs told a story and every word was crystal clear — not that foolish Beatles music. Hank Williams, Roy Rogers, Roy Acuff were also favourites.
There was, however, a country singer he loathed. Dad could not tolerate Reba McEntire and I have no idea why. What did she ever do to him? Look out, if Reba came on the radio. Dad made a few unkind remarks that ended with, “Turn that old thing off.”
Dad dreamed up a way to express his distaste of Reba McIntyre in an original fashion that filled him with immeasurable joy. A natural fisher and farmer, Dad planted a huge garden every year. He was as proud as punch of his plants, but favoured the strawberries. If you have grown strawberries, you know that the birds hang around waiting for the precise moment each berry ripened. They swept in and ate every strawberry.
Something had to be done to shoo the nuisances away. He covered the plants with nets. He hung aluminum pie plates to scare them off, but nothing worked. Dad constructed the perfect scarecrow to convince the birds a human was working in the garden. The scarecrow was in a bent over position as if weeding or picking berries. To top it off, Dad dressed it in Mom’s clothing.
I don’t know if it fooled the birds, but a lot of people stopped to “talk to Mom” only to discover she never answered. Eventually, they realized Dad, that sly old fox, had fooled them……….again.
I have saved my favourite part of the scarecrow story until last. Dad took an old radio, tuned in a country station, and stuffed the radio in the scarecrow’s shirt. With a degree of satisfaction that defies words, he stepped back, and with a satisfied grin, admired the work of his hands and uttered:
“Well, Reba, old girl, sing your heart out.”
This story never fails to put a smile on my face.