In last summer’s unbearable heat, I was riding along with the lawn mower’s engine roaring when I heard a voice in my head singing, “Ice cold milk and an Oreo cookie , , , ,” The voice of course was directly from the old television commercial. I cut a swath and tried to change the channel in my head. Deliberately, I started singing “Rock of Ages, cleft for me” as loudly as possible.
The tire hit a bump and bounced me off my seat as I moved into the chorus. Still singing, I bent close to the mower so I could dodge the lowest limbs of the sycamore tree and still cut under there with the riding mower. Imagining cutting under the tree with the push mower made me tired. I narrowly escaped decapitation and started cutting beside the rose fence. That’s when I noticed the black spot. Immediately I stopped the mower, went to the house for my clippers, and returned to rescue my roses. As I snipped a branch away, I heard the voice in my head again; “Ice cold milk and an Oreo cookie . . . .”
I wonder if the heat had something to do with impressing that “ice cold” idea on my brain. Funny, I don’t even like milk at any temperature, but the jingle was entrenched.
Back in the fall, the song was “Take It Easy.” Actually, it wasn’t the whole song--just bits and pieces that kept playing in my head, pieces like “running down the road trying to loosen my load” and “a girl my lord in a black silk Ford slowing down to take a look at me.” Those of you who know that song know that those lyrics aren’t exactly right. I didn’t know the song, so my mind was improvising. Who ever heard of a black silk Ford, for heaven’s sake? This song stayed with me for weeks and nearly drove me crazy. I went to bed with it, woke up with it, and heard it in the shower. No matter how much you like a song, it becomes an unwelcome gremlin about the 449th time it plays.
I tried everything I could think of to free my mind from its grip. I sang every hymn I ever learned and every other song I could remember. I played the radio all day until I finally fell into bed in the wee hours. Nothing worked very well. As soon as my eyes opened, there it was. Finally, I turned to Google and typed in the lines in my head so I could at least sing the correct lyrics. Now I know them by heart, but I’m scared to sing them. They might come back.
That song is no longer music to my ears I assure you. One day it disappeared and I was ecstatic. Now if it happens to come on the radio, I change stations immediately.
I did figure out what triggered that episode. I had gone for a nice visit with my dear friend Katy and her children. They introduced me to their fuzzy little dog whose name is Winslow. That’s all it took. Weeks later I was still singing about Winslow. I harbor no grudges against Katy’s poor dog in spite of all the misery his name caused me. I might get brave enough to visit again some day.
The current song in my head is a Christmas one that’s been there since early December. I love the music of the season, but the season is over now for another year, and the song won’t go into storage with the other cd’s. Every morning I wake up with it. “It’s the holiday season, and Santa Claus is coming back . . . .”
They say the brain is made of wrinkles that store assorted information. If that is the case, one of mine might be too deeply imbedded or too shallow. Something causes it to malfunction frequently. Whatever the situation, music fills my life, but I’m not so sure it’s a blessing. I’d love to hear the golden sounds of silence in my head for a few weeks.