June 12, 2017
By Arthur H. Gunther III
SAN ANTONIO, Texas — If music is a leveler, the proof is here. This city of mixed heritage, constant politeness and high temperatures seems to sing its way through the day and evening with song. There is music everywhere.
This traveler, however reluctant, did finally make it back to where a son and family live, had a truly good time with two grandchildren and managed to make quite a few electrical repairs. In all the doings, there seemed to be music.
When I went to hardware stores or big-box retailers, I heard country tunes. There were Mexican-style tunes in restaurants. The Alamo was festive with mariachi. Cars stopped at lights vibrated with a mix of music.
It could be the heat that drives the rhythm, for you don’t think about the weather as much when the radio is on.
It could be the rich mix of Spanish, German, Czech and cowboy that has all these differences communicating in a common element.
It could be the easy smiles of so many here and a slower pace of life that actually allows them to think about noticing other people that gets the daily jukebox jumping.
For certain, folk here go about their lives just like anywhere else. They work if they have a job. They eat in public places. There are families in the dog parks. There is romance. There is seriousness. There is sadness, too, and newspaper stories about bad things.
Yet when the day dawns, and I head for 6 a.m. coffee at the Valero mart, already you hear the tune-up for the daily rhythm.
Each city, each region, each nation, each town, even the smallest village, has its music, more audible, more vigorously expressed in some than others. Or more delicate or classical in some.
You might have to bend an ear to listen, but the melody and, more deeply, the lyrics, are to be discovered.
Sure plugged in at old San Antone.
The writer is a retired newspaperman. email@example.com
I loved this piece, Art, as it reminded me of my father, another Art (Arthur Wood Tocher). He was in the infantry in WWII, European Theater, and then was stationed in Texas, waiting to hear whether he’d be sent to the Pacific; fortunately, the war ended and he came home to Orange County. But in Texas he developed a lifelong love of Texas swing, especially Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys. I grew up on those songs, including “a song of old San Antone.” If you know Bob Wills, you will laugh when I tell you that I was “Rolly Polly, Daddy’s Little Fatty”! Thanks for bringing back the memories of Texas music and my Dad!
What a great story, Bonnie.
I also love that Texas song rhythm.
Just seeing this, and I thank you. I too loved those old songs. My son now lives in San Antone.