Saturday, June 17, 2017

Raining All Over My Heart

A look at the songs that have shaped
my life and ended up on my devices.
Every time I hear Brook Benton's "Rainy Night In Georgia," I think back to August 1994 and a lonely drive from Harlingen back to McAllen after seeing my mother off on a flight back to St. Louis. This song came over the radio of my battered Chevy Celebrity.

Benton sings about it "raining all over the world," and I could feel it. I had just arrived in the Rio Grande Valley to start my first television job, and I had been living in motel rooms for the past couple of days with the Queen Mother as we looked together for apartments. And then, while we were watching TV in an aging room in Weslaco, we got the stunning news that my Grandma Francis had died. This heaped an anvil onto my emotional weight, as I was already tired of driving and looking for apartments only to find them in seedy neighborhoods, not open for viewing, or not available.

Now we had to decide whether I should go back home to be part of the funeral. After discussions with Mom and Dad, we agreed that I should get myself settled in my new community and get to work. Grandma would've wanted it that way. Grandpa Francis understood completely. Mom moved up her flight rather than staying an extra day. And now, in the car, I heard Benton singing on KSOX-FM in Raymondville, an oldies station that became one of only two I liked in the Valley. We had no rock station or all-news radio to divert my mind from my sadness and feelings of being a displaced person, a foreigner in a strange land without a home.

I would somehow pull myself together and get the apartment, which wouldn't be ready for 30 days. The manager at the complex gave me a lead on temporary quarters, and so I rented a Winter Texan's trailer for a month. And then I called my new boss and said I was ready for work.

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