Dick’s Forum – No. 6
Throughout my childhood and youth some very nice things happened within our family. There were trips to Idaho and Colorado, fishing trips with my father and uncles, learning to love football, and most of all, midget and sprint car dirt track auto racing with my father. I learned to cook from my mother who could make the most glorious meals from a can of soup and a few leftovers. Sadly, what I remember most is the way my mother and father fought, often bitterly and intensely, with my being caught in the middle with no where to go.
During high school, music became my refuge. My record player and collection of classical LP’s became my quite place where I was safe and at peace. The Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor by Serge Rachmaninoff, the Requiem Masses by Mozart, Brahms and the four Brahms symphonies and music by Claude Debussy, Eric Satie, and Maurice Ravel were my favorites.
Then, I began to hear new voices and sounds. Jazz pianist Ramsey Lewis, The Modern Jazz Quartet led by John Lewis and English pianist George Shearing. Their harmonies and rhythms were so utterly free and spontaneous that I had to learn how they were doing “their thing”.
I had heard “country” music all my life. It was the music of my father and his family. It was music he steadfastly refused to teach me, not so much as a single fiddle tune. He was fearful that if I started playing those tunes I would abandon his plans for my classical music career and he would not tolerate that. Nonetheless, I knew the sound. As much as I had absorbed the sounds of classical music and jazz, country music had become part of my musical persona though it would be years before it would make itself known.
Throughout my later life in law enforcement and in professional music I have often been saddened that other kids have also turned to music as a refuge but too often found, instead, a dangerous landscape which provided nothing but messages about sex and drugs.