You Can Take the Girl Out of the Country

Recently, my lovely Bride and I took a trip to Nashville. We met our adult kids there and celebrated my youngest son’s fortieth birthday. We had a fantastic time together on a vacation we’ll never forget.

Although we’ve never been huge country music fans, we still enjoy a good country tune and deeply appreciate the talent that goes into the production of that genre. Nashville is the perfect place to express that appreciation. Consequently, the first thing we did was head to places like the Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline, and Country Music Museums. We also toured backstage at the Grand Ole Opry, the Ryman Auditorium, and RCA Studio B (where Elvis and many others recorded).

She Was Ushered to Country Concerts

Above all, we noticed (the thing that most prominently stood out during the entire trip for both of us) was the nostalgia of it all. Both of us have deep roots in country music. When my spouse was growing up, not only was country music the household choice for leisure listening, her parents ushered her to big name country concerts as well.

On my Mom’s side of our family, it was all country all the time. I wish I had a ten-spot for every time my Mother sang a Hank Williams song to us (Senior, not Junior). One of the most vivid recollections from my youth is my aunts and uncles singing the old Jimmy Rogers tune, “Waiting for a Train.” There were nine of them. They grew up in an old coal-mining town, and lived in one of the company houses. For entertainment, they used to sit on their front porch in the evenings and sing all the old country hits to their neighbors. They learned them all from listening to the radio.

When we arrived back home, we spent the next few days pulling up old movies about some of the country stars. We watched Walk the Line (Johnny Cash), Coal Miner’s Daughter (Loretta Lynn), and Sweet Dreams (Patsy Cline). In addition, I’m pretty sure each of us pulled up videos and audio recordings of country songs that have influenced our past (independently of one another).

“They’re always buried in there, somewhere.”

There’s an old saying that goes, “You can take the girl out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the girl.” I guess it’s true (probably for boys, as well). The things that go into the makeup of your life never really go away. They’re always buried in there, somewhere.

While in Nashville, something I realized is at least one reason why I never severed my ties with country music. That reason is its deep roots in the Gospel of Christ. As far as it may stray at times, country music has always been deeply entrenched in the belief that we need a Savior, and that Savior is Jesus.

I guess the Bible is true when it tells us to build good things into our children’s lives. Those things never leave, even if we attempt to run away from them (Proverbs 22:6).

[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and is currently pastor of Smith Chapel in Great Falls, VA.]

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