The Google driving directions said it was almost five hours north from Denver, CO to Chadron, NE. What’s north of Denver you ask? Turns out, really not much until you actually get to Chadron. The space in-between could be considered the southern tip of big sky country with loads of land and basically no one. While I don’t make it a habit of driving such long distances, when I do, I make the most of it and this is where I blame my mom.
Despite the fact that my mom grew up on Chicago’s south side, she developed a deep love for old school country/folk music. The soundtrack of my childhood was Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, CS&N, Paul Simon, John Denver, and many more in the same musical class. She doesn’t how she developed the taste, but says her dad said that her mom (who passed away when she was very young) would talk about how much she loved country music and always wanted to go to Nashville. So somewhere in there, my mom’s music tastes were born and snuck their way into me.
On my five hour drive, I queued up the Loretta Lynn Pandora station and fell into a deep place of childhood relaxation. I looked out the window at the rolling slopes and saw moments of the wheat field on our farm in Michigan. I smelled the smoke of a bonfire in the distance and thought of the countless nights we let the crackling coals of a fire put us to sleep.
I’m a city kid who loves the solitude of the country. I’m a sucker for a song with a steel guitar. For all of that I blame my mom, but I’m thankful for it.