Sunday, October 13, 2013

Emmylou, Peggy Sue and the Burrito Connection

     I think of two scenes when I think of the movie Peggy Sue Got Married.  One, where Peggy Sue, newly time-transported from her twentieth high school reunion back in time to her senior year of high school in 1960, answers the phone in the hallway of her childhood home and once again hears her  grandmother’s voice; 

 and, of course,  the scene where she reacts to her father's proud purchase of a new car.

     But it was her interaction with the then, high school geek, Richard Norvick, that came to mind as I listened to Emmylou Harris in concert the other night, and how the two fictional teenagers briefly touched on Richard's theory of relativity, time and space in the context of a not as yet familiar Mexican food.

Richard:  Well, then we have Richard's Burrito.
Peggy Sue:  What's that?
Richard:  That's my own theory based on Mexican food called a burrito.  I had it once when my parents took me to Disneyland.
Peggy Sue: I KNOW what a BURRITO is.

      Richard’s analogy of time and relativity as a tortilla folding over the filling until its curved ends fold over to touch each other, came to mind last week as the mister and I listened to Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell sing perfect harmony, as they have done for forty years. We sat in the midst of a group of Vietnam veterans, together again (as the Buck Owen's song of the same name played in the pre-concert warm up) for one of the reunions of their time spent in the military debacle that set our generation apart and which was largely responsible for the music and political activism that defined our times. Those of us that are old enough to remember those times, remember Gram Parsons and the Flying Burrito Brothers and know that he and Emmylou were friends and musical partners and that it was he who convinced Emmylou of her talent and whose musical vision of his, all too short life, influenced hers.  "There are two kinds of music.  The blues and zippety-doo-dah", says Emmylou.  We have listened to her tribute to Parsons at every concert, change over the years, from grief to gratitude, (She is his Achilles--as long as she is alive we will remember his name) yet, when I see her turn her back to the audience and start blowing up that flat top box, I know that Luxury Liner is coming, and my throat aches a little with the unrecoverable loss of promise and youth.  But then that voice comes soaring from my girlhood and envelops us old folks trying to recover the glory days of our youth and music, and we are wrapped in that familiar sound,  both past and present, and in the words of the old A.P. Carter song that Emmy and Rodney have been singing together for so long, that I am unable to unbraid the plait of their perfect harmony, I feel my husband slip his loving hand in mine.

Hello, Stranger, put your loving hand in mine
Hello, Stranger, put your loving hand in mine
You are a stranger
And you're a friend of mine.


VixenVillain said...

OK, now I have to 1) watch Peggy Sue Got Married and 2) listen to more Emmylou Harris. The first time I heard her was on the Brokeback Mountain soundtrack and I played that song ("A Love That Will Never Grow Old") over and over for my son when he was maybe two or three months old.

Lovely post, DefPub. I can't wait to read more of your writing.

susanbuchanan said...

i like how you take us thru your thought process via film clips to the last video of song. you brought me to that time in my life when i was strong and's been a while since i felt that way. thanks for sharing your experience.

Rod Keen said...

Very nicely written. It has truly been a difficult time for our generation to shake off the period of our youth, such a troublesome time. It's wonderful that so many of the performers continue to tour, and so many radio stations still play the music.