You Can Take the Boy Out of the Country

If you were to ask me what my favorite music happens to be, I’d probably never reply, “Country.” But truth-be-told, it’s in my blood. I was reminded of that once again this morning. I saw the news that Randy Scruggs had passed away, so I began pulling up some of his music on the Internet. It took about four notes of “Passin’ Thru” for it all to come rushing back.

My Dad’s side of the family listened to polkas, waltzes, and obereks. My Mom’s side was all country all the time. My maternal side won. Even though my parents bought an accordion for me and paid for four or five years of lessons, that’s not where my heart ended up. I could play a mean Beer Barrel Polka, much to my Dad’s enjoyment. But when I turned twenty-six, I bought myself a guitar.

Guitars on my Wall

Today, I have two guitars hanging on my study wall. The accordion is somewhere in a back room. I keep meaning to drag it out to brush up, but I haven’t gotten around to it for a couple of years now. I play the guitars a lot.

To be totally honest with you, if and when I re-polish my accordion skills, it will probably be to play a little Zydeco. Anybody out there have a washboard? We can get together and perform a some Cajun.

Recently, XM/Sirius Radio aired a temporary Southern Rock station called “Free Bird.” If you’re a music fan, you can guess it features the music of Lynyrd Skynyrd. When I’m in my Jeep, I find myself flipping back and forth from the Beatles channel to Free Bird. Even though the Beatles are probably my favorite band ever, I find myself spending more and more time on Free Bird. I’m pretty sure it’s the country influence pulling me like a magnet.

Hey Good Lookin’

My Mom talked a lot about her childhood days. She grew up in a small, Pennsylvania coal-mining town. Aside from listening to country music on the radio, they didn’t have much in the way of entertainment. In the summertime, they used to sit out on the front porch and sing to the neighbors. When they finished a song, one of the neighboring families would sing another song back to them. From what I hear, a lot of those songs were Hank Williams hits (senior, not junior). I wish I had a dollar for every time my Mom sang Hey Good Lookin’ to me while I was growing up.

I guess it’s true what the Bible says in Proverbs 22:6. “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” I don’t know if country music is the way to go, but I know I’m spending more and more time listening to it.

I’m sorry to hear of the death of Randy Scruggs, but I’m sure glad for the time he was passin’ thru. He brought me back to my roots once again.

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

2 thoughts on “You Can Take the Boy Out of the Country”

  1. Dave, your story here brought back a lot of memories from 70 yrs ago. Whenever your mother, mine, and their siblings got together, there was music. Uncle Bob and my dad would play guitars and all the sisters would be singing. It happened on frequent weekends in one of our homes. Mostly country as you say with a little bit of Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby. When I was growing up, there wasn’t much else but country.

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