On long rides in the car, music has the power to help keep harmony.
"Road Trip!" These two words are destined to evoke either angst or excitement, depending on who's doing the shouting. In my house, excitement wins. We've always enjoyed road trips--driving to Florida or Canada and many places in between.
Mom often popped me in the car when I was a young kid, not yet in school.
"We're going on an adventure," she'd say.
"Where?" I'd ask.
"Don't know…let's pick a direction and go," she'd respond.
"Does Daddy know?" I'd ask, always concerned that dad knew and could provide rescue, if needed.
"Yes, dear, he knows," she'd say.
Off we'd toot in her gold Toyota wagon, sometimes north to the Poconos, armed with a bag of stale bread to feed some lucky fowl relaxing at Lake Wallenpaupack. Sometimes we'd head west to Amish country and green undulating hills dotted with crops and home to the best hot pretzel outlets anywhere. Our car often aimed east toward the shore and its promise of soft sand--the perfect pedicure for anyone willing to walk barefoot along the water's edge for a few blocks and salt water taffy.
I don't remember our car traveling south, unless dad was driving. South meant a day in Philadelphia at the zoo or the Franklin Institute, with its larger-than-life-sized beating heart that I loved to clamber through. Further south beckoned Washington, D.C. and its monuments and museums. The deep south beckoned with the promise of visits to aunts and uncles in Georgia and Florida.
One constant of all road trips, regardless of destination, was song. We sang to the radio, but even better, mom and dad taught me the lyrics to all the Broadway musicals whose records spun daily in our living room. In the car, we created our own harmonies taking the roles of Miss Hannigan, Grizabella, Marion, Anna and King Mongkut.
Today, I still belt out Broadway, Madonna, The Police, Queen and other classics with the radio (since when did the music of my youth become "classic rock?"). My husband sings along, too. In fact, he probably knows all the words to every rock song written since 1975.
In the back seat, Ben now chirps along. We haven't yet recognized a tune, but he exhibits a sense of rhythm and timing, which is music to my ears. Will he one day harmonize with us? I hope so. Will I encourage all things musical in the car--always the perfect place for singing and silliness? Absolutely.