Thursday, November 30, 2006

Mike's Wrinkles

When we were young, I used to swear my brother was a part of our family by mistake. We are all redheads and blondes (okay, brown now), except for Mike. He was born in Texas hospital at the same time a Mexican woman was giving birth. With his dark eyes and hair, we just knew that Mike and that baby must have been swapped somehow. But as he’s gotten older, I am finally seeing the rest of us in him. He recently shaved so now resembles another brother a lot.

Throughout our childhood, teen years, and into adulthood, Mike has always been the proverbial class clown. He began playing guitar before he was 10-years old, and used to come up to my ear and pick strings as loudly as he could to annoy me. Once, he learned that I didn’t care for “Michael Row Your Boat Ashore” and played the record continuously until I ripped it off the record-player, threw it on the concrete floor and scraped it until it couldn’t be played again. Mike tried to cuss at a young age. When he was told he wasn’t allowed to say certain words, he made up his own. He went to my third brother and whispered, “From now on, ‘coink’ means asshole.” Then he would say out loud, “Hey Coink.”

Despite his shenanigans, there has always been one constant: his music. Mike has always dreamed of conquering the music world to become a famous musician. His guitar skills are amazing, even to the most jaded. He is lead guitarist for 69 South, a popular band in western Kentucky. He expects they could do great things, but his band isn’t committed like he is – they don’t have the confidence to quit their day jobs to pursue music full time. Instead of concentrating on music only, his band plays weekend gigs at bars, restaurants, and weddings with a repertoire featuring mostly rock, southern rock, and country.

Mike said he never really liked country music until he began playing it three or four years ago. Although his influences were Aerosmith, Ted Nugent, and Rush, Mike now finds country music tolerable. His opinion is that a lot of country music feels canned, too polished, and corporate and that executives are just looking for the next “voice” that they can put on a track using the same studio musicians. He appreciates the country performers he occasionally hears who sound like they’re singing from the heart, but he still feels rock and roll has more energy and soul.

Mike’s three children have brought him a lot of joy, but also disappointment, too. He and his son always struggled to get along and Mike no longer tries to analyze why. He just knew his son would not accept being corrected or any type of discipline. Not tolerating discipline from your father felt alien to Mike because when his Dad told him to do something, you’d do it or get busted. His son learned early on to question Mike’s authority, especially during his teenage years. He dropped out, which was unheard of in our family and viewed with disdain, but eventually earned his GED. He then joined the Army against everyone’s advice. Mike and his son do get along now, but Mike is scared for him because he’s scheduled to go to Iraq as a forward observer in February. Mike describes this job as the guy in a movie who is calling in on the radio for air support and gets blown up. Most assuredly, everyone in our family is praying for Scott to return home safely.

Mike’s oldest daughter wants to grow up too fast and he is having a hard time letting her go. She has a boyfriend and although he seems nice enough, Mike doesn’t like it; he supposes it’s a dad thing. Angie, however, has inherited a lot of her father’s music skills and has an amazing singing voice. She leans toward the arts, while Mike’s youngest tends toward the academics. When Sarah was in the 2nd grade, she was reading at a 9th grade level. She consistently makes the honor roll and is smart as a whip.

As Mike described his daughters, he finished putting the new strings on his guitar. He had a gig, so went off to make his fans happy. His music was calling him.


Blogger Lynnster said...

I saw the resemblance immediately. If you look at his photo and your profile photo, you two have got the exact same mouth. :)

5:45 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home