I am driving back home Sunday, through a raging storm when the call comes over the radio:
“Beep Beep Beep…please be aware that a tornado watch is in effect for West Michigan counties from now until 8:00pm tonight.”
I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a tornado–I’ve been lucky not to–but the minute you know it is a possibility, you start seeing potential tornados everywhere you look. They become tornados of the mind. This is one of those imaginary journeys…
We are driving back home from an area north of Muskegon, Michigan on Sunday. The rain is so bad, if I go too fast, the car starts to hydroplane making my poor cobalt blue Toyota Prius shake like a wet dog. I tell my son, “Keep an eye on the sky. Look for angry clouds shaped like triangles!”
All we can see in every direction is trees, trees, and more trees. We will likely only see a tornado in the split second before a tree hits us.
Visibility is nil when we finally hit the highway. Semi-trucks kick up flumes of water that make it look like we are traveling on a log ride at a poorly maintained water park. I lower my speed–but that too is a danger in the land where the ‘speed limit’ is just a suggestion and going too slowly might cause a pile-up as bad as any tornado might.
You would think I wouldn’t have time to listen to a radio while I am clutching my steering wheel and leaning forward like a geriatric granny. (Shut up! I am at least not a granny.) But music is my groove when I don’t have a book-on-tape to shove into my CD player. (Yeah, I know no one uses tapes or CD players anymore. Shut up about that too.)
Listening to the radio while driving through this remote region of Michigan will teach you a lot about the locals. The only options this far north are religious music or country and western stations. I chose the lesser of two evils. (Sorry, the only time I can listen to anything approaching gospel is when my cousin sings it–because she has the voice of an angel and the sincerity of her faith that helps me suppress my usual urge to make snarky comments and change the channel.)
It is while I am squinting at the surrounding sky that a song comes on that speaks to me. I had a hard time finding it later when I sat down to write this post. It didn’t help that I remembered the lyrics wrong. I thought it contained this line:
“I wonder who I’d be, If I hadn’t met you”
Turns out there are enough songs out there with variations on that phrase that made finding the actual song difficult. But I eventually do. This is the verse I mangled:
“Oh like a ship without a sea
Or a song without a melody
I don’t know where I’d be or what I’d do
‘Cause I was made for you“
I am always surprised at how emotional songs can touch my heart. And there is no better kind of music to listen to when times are tough or scary than a good old country ballad. There is something in the way they bend the strings that brings out all the feels.
And while the song I eventually found was a love song, that wasn’t who I was thinking of as I drove that dangerous highway home. I was thinking of my best friend.
We met at basic training and because we were assigned to the same training bases over and over–we even shared the same Russian Language program–we had to learn to be friends or kill each other trying. We eventually overcame some superficial differences and became each other’s touchstone through the years. I think our story would make a pretty good Country Song, now that I think about it. And like our friendship–it would be an oldie, but a goodie.
So thank you to WMUS 107 FM and the DJ who played Jake Owen’s song–I Was Made For You. While I was mildly afraid of dying the whole way home, at least I had good songs to comfort me along the way.
And to my friend who makes me laugh until tears squeeze out all my orifices–yes, I can see you rolling your eyes at that one–I was made for you!