Take This Tune

Posted: Tuesday, January 25, 2011 by Travis Cody in

My pal Jamie from Duward Discussion has reintroduced her wonderful weekly feature.  Take This Tune provides a musical prompt each week, usually a video with the song lyrics.  The task is to write something inspired by the song or something in the lyrics.

It's a shame that this feature isn't more popular.  I think it's a great way to combine music and writing.  It's not restrictive at all...you can write something or you can post another song inspired by the prompt.  You don't have to post on a special day...just pick up the prompt, usually posted by Friday afternoons but sometimes posted later in the weekend, and then put your post up sometime during the following week.

Then sign Mr Linky at the TTT blog and cruise around to read some great work.

This week's prompt is the song The House that Built Me, written by Tom Douglas and Allen Shamblin, and performed by Miranda Lambert.  The task is to share a story about what makes me, me.

Grab your Mr Peabody glasses children because we're taking a trip in the Wayback Machine.  I first posted this story in July 2007.  Some of you may remember it, but it's also new to some others.

San Mateo Bridge
When I was about 10, my parents divorced and my younger sister and I were raised by our single mom.  We lived about an hour and a half from my grandmother, and so we made lots of weekend trips over to the San Francisco Bay Area to visit.  They were like mini vacations for us.  We would laugh and sing in the car during the entire drive.

I remember the time we tried to take a short cut through Hayward to get to the San Mateo Bridge.  We ended up lost!  If there was a way to lose a large body of water like a bay and a huge bridge...we found it!  But such were our little adventures.

Editor's note:  I have inherited that trait.  Just after the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989, while driving late at night in downtown San Francisco, I managed to lose the Bay Bridge.  But that's a story for another trip in the Wayback Machine.

Anyway, that shortcut turned out to be the best thing because we passed right by a 7-Eleven convenience store on a side street.  Once we figured out the short cut, we almost always used it and Mom would give in to our begging and stop for Slurpees.  Not always, but more often than not.  If she didn't, we'd have to wait until we got to Gram's.

My sister and I were Slurpee-holics in those days.

Gram was the best.  She was a fireplug of a redhead and she was so much fun when I was a kid.  She'd take us down to Tanforan Mall in San Bruno.  We'd have adventures in parking.  She'd drive and drive around the side lot next to the Sears entrance to the mall, waiting for "her" spot to open up right near the front.  My sister and I would play scout from the backseat, keeping an eye on the entrance and watching for people heading to their cars.  And then, just like that, Gram's spot would open up and she'd swing the big Caddy in like a pro.

Honestly!  Can you imagine a woman all of 4'9" wrangling a huge 1970's model Cadillac around a parking lot?

After our triumph in parking, we'd walk into the mall through Sears.  This was my first experience with any large shopping mall.  Gram would always take us to the toy store and the pet store.  Sometimes she'd need to stop at a shoe store, and she always picked the one next to the book store so we could browse while she got her shoes.

Then we'd head over to the Walgreen's.  Now back in those days at Tanforan, the Walgreen's was more than just a place where Gram could get her necessaries, as she called them.  Once in awhile we'd get new coloring books and the small boxes of new Crayola crayons.  Of course we'd lust after the big box of 64 with the built-in sharpener, but that was always reserved for a holiday or birthday gift.

But the Walgreen's...it was a drug store like it is today, but it also had a cafe/restaurant!  My sister and I were always on our best behavior with limited fidgeting and whining during the shopping phase of our outing, because we knew that after all that good behavior we'd get grilled cheese and hot fudge sundaes at the Walgreen's cafe/restaurant.

The best thing though...the ultimate...the grandest thing about going to Gram's was that she lived around the corner from a 7-Eleven.  Can you imagine anything better for a couple of Slurpee-holics?  After a day of racing Big Wheels down the big hill, or building Legos and Tinker Toys in the backyard, or drawing and coloring on the big dining room table, Gram would hand us a dollar and send us around the corner for Slurpees.

My grandmother has been gone for more than 20 years.  But my grandfather still lives in that same house.  And right around the corner is that same 7-Eleven.  In fact, in 2006 when I went down for my cousin's wedding, my sister and I introduced my niece to the joy of walking around the corner for a Slurpee.

So what makes me, me?  


Memories of my redheaded spitfire Gram, and Caddy wrangling in a parking lot, and Walgreen's grilled cheese and hot fudge sundaes, and Crayola crayons, and getting lost as an adventure, and Slurpees.

So many memories.


  1. Anonymous says:

    Travis: What a wonderful post. I forgot about the Peabody glasses!!! Wow, is that a blast from the past. But it sounds wonderful through your eyes, your memory and your words.

  1. Jamie says:

    What a totally fun story. Mine is up now with a tale of the high flying child.

  1. Akelamalu says:

    What lovely memories you have Trav and how kind of you to share them. :)

  1. oh Travis, you took me back... way back... legos, tinker toys, crayola crayons- i still use crayons in my art journal. i've never had a slurpee but i have had slushies which i imagine are about the same.

    also wanted to say thanks for sharing the link to Take This Tune... it does sound like a great writing prompt. hope all is well. have a great day.

  1. Anonymous says:

    I used to squee with delight when I'd get my 64 crayon box. I used to know the names of all the colors, too!

    Have a great day, travis!

  1. GGG: Sherman and Mr Peabody were always favorites of mine.

    Jamie: I shall cruise on by shortly.

    Akelamalu: I'm really glad I can remember some of these stories. Some I don't recall as clearly, and that's bothersome.

    Naquillity: Slushies are similar, but I've found that they aren't quite the same.

    Lois: Gotta love the 64!

  1. I adore reading about your childhood. Your Gram sounds like the best Gram in the world.

    I agree, it is about the memories of days past that make a life worth noting.

  1. I love the trip down memory lane. Thanks for sharing. Is it is really fun to hear about your childhood. I might have to start playing this music meme.

  1. I remember when Walgreen's had a lunch counter. Gads, I feel old now...