Lately, I’ve had an overwhelming urge to listen to classic country music. Waylon. Willie. Charley. The voices that can sing a single note, and you instantly know it’s them. For the past two weeks, I’ve listened to these songs day after day. At first, I didn’t think much of it, but as my heart began to ache, I realized what was happening. These songs were transporting me to an earlier time in my life. They were digging up sweet memories my heart wanted to remember.

When Charley Pride sings through my speakers, I’m seven and eating a chocolate-covered cherry with Meemaw. We’re laughing and watching a cardinal gracefully land on a branch that hovers over the cow field. And when Willie Nelson streams through, I’m sitting on the porch swing with Granddad, watching the dog with a curly tail gleefully chase my brothers. George Jones trickles in, and I’m sitting at the round table, playing cards with my aunt who happily teaches me when I forget the rules. And Waylon – when he comes on, I’m on the couch being tickled by Daddy, as Mommy giggles in the kitchen doorway.

Each song has brought up a new beloved memory. And I think right now I must be addicted to the power of the music to evoke these thoughts from deep within me. The memories are happy; they’re carefree.

Meemaw and Granddad have been gone for many years now, and I live hundreds of miles away from my family. But these songs can send me to a place where I feel close to them.

I want to be clear that I’m not dwelling in the past or that I’m unhappy with making the decision to move away. Neither of those are the case by any means. I strive to always live in the moment, and I absolutely adore the life I’ve developed in New York.

What I am trying to say is that sometimes when the weather starts to get warm and there’s a cool breeze blowing on my face, my heart asks to remember these moments. As I put on the first song, my brain has not yet realized why I want to listen. But when the final verse is sung, my heart tells my brain, “Told ya so,” and the memories cover me like a favorite blanket – a little worn around the edges, but warm and familiar and exactly what I need.

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