April Ziemer, Editor

You probably see from week to week it is common for me to reference song lyrics in my column. I think it is because every life experience for me has its very own soundtrack. What has hit me recently is that you can hear a song and it can have an entirely different meaning than it used to, based on your current situation.

As many readers know, I lost my mother last week. It has been a rough year for our family. Within less than a year, we have lost my uncle, my grandmother and now my mother. 

My mother was an optimist. It was something she got from her mother. I have never thought that I looked like my mom. She was petite with much softer features than myself. She loved to bake and garden, two things that are not my cup of tea. In all honesty there have been times I wondered if I was switched at birth. 

The one thing I know my mom passed down to me was a love for music. At a young age she ignited a passion in me for the sounds of Fleetwood Mac, Tommy James and the Shondells, Bob Seeger, and Rod Stewart. I remember vividly being a four-year-old child who could sit with headphones perched upon her ears with the jack plugged into our family’s stereo listening to Styx for hours on end. 

Many times my young mother would come home from long hours working as a nurse and find me carefully memorizing every inch of an album sleeve and insist I pause my rock n’ roll research to join her for a living room dance party.

Helen Reddy’s “You and Me Against the World” or Three Dog Night’s “Pieces of April” is what her warbled little voice would croon to sing me to sleep at night. Of all things, I inherited that warbled voice and used it to sing my own children to sleep in their younger years.

I was fortunate enough in the past handful of years to attend numerous concerts with my mom. We saw Billy Joel and Bon Jovi, just to name a few. Even though we were only 16 years apart, my mom was what some call an old soul. She was much more wise than I. What I loved about our concert time together was that the teenybopper in my mom would shine through as she danced and sang along with the shows.

In her final weeks I sat by her side and quizzed her on “The top ten live records ever released” or “The top selling singles with a color in their title.”

It would be easy after a year like this to be angry or a bit jaded. As I mentioned before, my mom was an optimist. Because of that, I am going to look at the positive that has shined upon me during this very sad time in my life. 

I have always loved this little city I call home, but during the past five days it has really hit me how truly blessed I am to live here. For the time being, I could care less about any politics in town. The condition of streets or how many lanes are going to run through downtown can cross my mind at another time. Right now my thoughts are directed toward the people with who I share this zip code.

The outpouring of love to my family has been tremendous. Every kind word has truly chipped away at the pain. There is no possible way I would receive this support outside of our small town.

A song that came on the radio this morning that my ears heard a bit differently was John Mellancamp’s “Small Town.”

“Well I was born in a small town

And I live in a small town

Prob’ly die in a small town

Oh, those small communities

All my friends are so small town

My parents live in the same small town

My job is so small town

Provides little opportunity

Educated in a small town

Taught the fear of Jesus in a small town

Used to daydream in that small town

Another boring romantic that’s me

No I cannot forget where it is that I come from

I cannot forget the people who love me

Yeah, I can be myself here in this small town

And people let me be just what I want to be”

This song hit me in “the feels” this week. I would definitely disagree with one line though. Where he sings that his small town job provides little opportunity; it couldn’t be farther from the truth for myself. My small town job has allowed me to build relationships with the others that live here. In this case, it also provides me with the opportunity to say thank you for all of your thoughtful words and gestures. It is truly appreciated. I am beyond grateful for my small town family.

I enjoy sharing my thoughts with you, and look forward to readers sharing their thoughts in return.

Feel free to email me at editor@theameryfreepress.com, write me at P.O. Box 424, Amery WI. 54001 or I can be reached by phone at 715-268-8101.

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