Woody Guthrie’s 100th birthday would have been a few weeks ago. This would-be event was momentous enough for NPR to have a special feature on his life and music – At 100, Woodie Guthrie Still Resonates. The singer and songwriter grew up in Oklahoma and was forced out during the Dust Bowl, along with thousands of other displaced Americans. He worked on a farm in California before recording music at the beginning of WWII. He wrote “This Land Is Your Land” among thousands of other songs. In 1943, the folk singer was hailed by The New York Times as a national treasure — “part of the best stuff this country has to show the world.”
NPR’s story was interesting enough for me to search for Guthrie’s music on Pandora, and having a six-month-old I naturally opted for the result that said “children’s” next his name. Within seconds I was caught somewhere in between Santa Barbara and the Great Depression, an illogical time between ipods and old-timey record players, LIDAR-guided autonomous cars and cars that you start with a crank.
As I listened to the first song Pandora threw at me, a tune about Guthrie’s sweet ride, I realized that although horns don’t sound like “a-wooga” anymore, music and cars is a timeless combination.
Luckily for me, Babydyne loves them both. The little guy hasn’t figured out what kind of creature our cat is yet, but he can certainly tell a good road trip song. We hope that he will someday outgrow his insistent preference for “Wheels on the Bus,” but for now I humor him. It’s a fair trade to see his face light up and his eyes sparkle as he waits for me to do the “whooshing wipers.”
We really tested this magic of babies and cars and music last week. We were headed home from our first weekend of camping with Babydyne. It had been a 5 hour car ride and we were less than thirty miles away. I was daydreaming about my bed and a warm shower when all of a sudden we hit bumper to bumper traffic and Babydyne suddenly needed a diaper change. What song would you choose in a moment like that? I can’t say I remember which tunes brought us home that day. But Woody Guthrie would have been a good choice.