Before you get too excited, this is not a post about Harper Lee, her new book, her old book, or anything so noble. This little tidbit is simply about… a mockingbird.
I’m a Texan, and mockingbirds are our state bird. I live out in the country, where the birds are more common. We have one that resides in the field beside our home and keeps us entertained constantly. We have, on occasion, listened to him mimic the bob-white quail that scurry from one mesquite tree to the next. We’ve heard him “mock” the feral kittens in the area, with a tiny mew mew mew. He even trills the song of the frogs after a rainy night. He has quite a large repertoire.
But last week we were shocked at the new song he was singing. My husband and I were leaving for church, early on Sunday morning, and as our garage door finished its obnoxiously squeaky ascent to the open position, we heard the mockingbird’s ballad. Squee-ee-ee-ee-lumma-lumma-ee-ee-lumma-lumma-ee-ee-chirrup. That’s right; it was our annoying garage door noise, reflected back to us in song.
Now my husband is set on WD-40-ing the tracks to eliminate that whine, but I don’t want the bird to stop his serenade. While I hated the squeal before, and was all in favor of ridding the world of the din, I now enjoy that our little bird has turned it into something lovely and sweet.
I’m grateful for, and love, our mockingbird.
Music does this really weird thing to me. You know how in movies when you have this obsessed detective or even a stalker who has a wall or secret room covered with a jillion photographs connected to each other with a web made of about three miles-worth of brightly-colored yarn? That’s my brain on music.
Example: After I added some music to a play list on my laptop, the song “Twistin’ the Night Away” by Sam Cooke began. I start to dance immediately. (I was also folding laundry at the time.) I did the Twist, the Fly, and the Watusi, as instructed. Suddenly I think about Gilligan’s Island, because of course, in one episode Ginger is instructing one of the other castaways in the correct form for dancing the Watusi.
Before I finish that thought, my mind jumps to the scene in Innerspace when Martin Short’s character is drinking and dancing to the same song. I adore that movie. Fast-forward to the end of the film when the credits roll. Short is racing down the road to save Dennis Quaid and Meg Ryan from the bad guys, and the song is blasting again, this time sung by Rod Stewart.
For a quick moment I think of how much I appreciate Rod Stewart for recording older songs like that—fun and beautiful classics that deserve a new audience.
Hopping back to “Twistin’ the Night Away,” which is only half-over at this point, I think about how smooth Sam Cooke’s voice is—even on a party song like this. What a voice he had. And how sad that a talent like his was lost in such terrible circumstances. He was killed in a hotel at the age of 33, his death ruled justifiable homicide because he was inebriated and… it’s just like a movie.
Why haven’t they made a movie about his life? Who would play him? Denzel Washington is too old for the part. Even Hill Harper is past 33. Maybe that cute Dayo Okeniyi from Hunger Games? I wonder when the next Hunger Games movie comes out…
Yep, all of that in a 2 minute-41 second song. While I’m dancing. And folding clothes. I told you it was weird.
That’s a wrap for this Toast to Cinema. Thanks for reading.