Today I was driving my little one to ice skating practice, as I so often do, when I turned to a classic rock station on the radio. Both of my daughters are partial to what I call the “thumpa-thumpa” music on the hit radios stations in town, so I have to steal whatever time I can with music that I want to listen to. It’s one of the things they would teach you in parent school, if there were such a thing.
The song on the radio was one that I really like, because it tells a story. Every song probably tells some kind of a story, but this one is worth hearning. It’s about two men who are riding a bus southward from Indiana, and the older man is telling the younger man about life. The younger man–whose relationship to the older man, if there was one in the first place, is unclear in the song–remembers the conversation, and years later realizes that the old man was right. You learn things as you go on with life, is what the meaning of the song is for me.
The song, Minutes to Memories, is one of the commercially unknown songs on John Mellencamp’s Scarecrow album. When the album was released in 1985, hit songs like Small Town and Lonely Ol’ Night were the ones that people wanted to hear on the radio, and buy in the record stores. Nobody knew what a digital download was, either. Back then, this song would have been considered filler, or B-side material, to most people, myself included.
But just like the storyteller in the song, things came clear to me as I grew older. The 17-year old who first heard the song didn’t have the life experience to understand the song quite yet. But now, at an age that’s far beyond 17, I get it. Older people can tell us things, and we don’t listen to them much precisely because they are older than us. But the young will get older, as they always have, and what older people once said will suddenly ring true, or at least seem more reasonable than it once was.
I included a video for the song above, and here’s a link to the song as well. Enjoy, or at least keep it in mind for when you get a little older.