I didn’t just inherit their stupid senses of humor…*

When I was 6, I sat on the floor near the stereo with my father and listened to Thriller, the new album from Michael Jackson. My dad had just come home from the store, and rushed to put it on. I was in awe, as much with my father as with the music. I watched him watching the stereo. Anything that caused my dad to gasp, nod, and shake his head in wonder must be worthwhile.

He even made our entire family watch the Making Michael Jackson’s Thriller documentary one Friday night. There were similar obsessions with Elvis, Simon & Garfunkel, Buddy Holly, and John Fogerty, to name a few.

My mother shared this love of music. Any good song made her dance.

Singing and dancing—there was a lot of it in my childhood. My father taught me to jitterbug when I was in kindergarten. My mother was the queen of impromptu dance parties in the middle of the family room. I still can’t hear a song without moving some part of my body, and often singing along (unfortunately).

The radio was always on in the car and during parties. Before the guests arrived, my older brother and I would wait by the stereo, listening. One of my favorite memories is when, during one of these moments, he asked me to dance. We performed some sort of waltz that only we knew. I believe it was to Neil Diamond.

To this day, our family get-togethers are not complete without dancing, even while washing dishes in the kitchen. Which would be nerdy if we weren’t so cool.

I thought about all this in my excitement to see Mumford & Sons in Dixon, Illinois this weekend with my sister and husband (though he is skeptical of the whole dancing bit).

And I thought, “Thank goodness I have two parents who passed on their love of music and dancing. Life would be so boring without them.”

Circa 1977


*The title refers to THIS.

14 thoughts on “I didn’t just inherit their stupid senses of humor…*

  1. I remember hiding behind the orange chair while dad would watch Thriller on MTV. I was terrified, but knew I’d be safe because dad said so.
    He still has that record.
    And if I ever get married, I’ll be doing the jitter bug for the father daughter dance.

    Mom and I just had a dance party the other day. I get my hip moves from her.
    Mumford doesn’t know what’s comin’!!

  2. Wow, love Mumford and Sons! Enjoy that…Billy Joel was always playing in my house when I was growing up…and since my parents loved ‘The Blues Brothers,’ I’ll forever have a soft spot for Sam and Dave (and John Belushi). Interesting you mention Elvis…HUGE fan, was in Tennessee for my honeymoon. And of course today is the anniversary of his death…which plays a big role in the novel I’m writing. Great blog…I enjoy reading your posts.

  3. I LOVE this post! I grew up in a similar family- my dad loved music and we always had it on. I remember seeing a band live for the first time and wondering how they got out of the record. I also remember hearing a song on the radio my dad would sing to me before bed and I was so upset they “stole” his song! I remember dancing and signing in the living room with my family to The Eagles, Doobie Brothers, Gary Puckett, Neil Diamond, Ronnie Milsap…the list could go on forever! Music has always been a huge part of my life- certain songs define moments in my life as I made sense of the world around me. I’m so bummed I missed the Mumford and Sons Concert- next time!!

    • Next time, for sure. One of the best parts of the weekend was being introduced to other great bands. If you haven’t checked out Nathaniel Rateliff or The Apache Relay, do it!
      And I love that you were mad they stole your dad’s song!

  4. I grew up in a Colombian household…no party was complete without pushing furniture to the wall, creating an impromptu dance floor and enjoying salsa, cumbia and merengue…sometimes into the wee hours of the morning. They are some of my favourite memories.

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