Name That MLB Tune
Baseball, block parties, and a ’70s soundtrack… Take me back, please.
“In my little town,
I grew up believing
God keeps His eye on us all.
And he used to lean upon me
As I pledged allegiance to the wall.
Lord, I recall in
My little town.
Coming home after school
Flying my bike past the gates
Of the factories
My mom doing the laundry
Hanging our shirts
In the dirty breeze…
In my little town,
I never meant nothin’
I was just my father’s son
Saving my money
Dreaming of glory
Twitching like a finger
On the trigger of a gun
Leaving nothing, but the dead and dying
Back in my little town
Nothin’ but the dead and dying
Back in my little town…”
—Paul Simon, “My Little Town”
A week ago, I overheard my childhood in an extended break, while watching an MLB baseball game. I knew the song they ripped off.
I knew it.
I just couldn’t name it. Yet.
I wracked my brain for a few minutes, then let it go. The harder you hold onto something, the harder it stays buried.
I heard it again today.
Again, I could almost touch the song with my mind. I loved the tune, I knew that much.
The snippet belonged to a universal anthem, one that reminded me of the best of us — together in a credit cast roll, with our faces turned toward the sun, mid-laughter. Together.
Then, all of a sudden, in a rush of long-buried memories, the lights turned on.
I heard it at long last.
Simon & Garfunkel’s “My Little Town,” from 1975. The deceptively haphazard piano, followed closely by the bass and drums testifying…charging up that glorious hill into the Chorus Promise Land.
One of the greatest in the history of rock.
Life, love, and laughter. All from the first, formative notes on lopsided, lanky piano (Barry Beckett), as if by chance, as if rummaged through in a practice run.
Run asunder; made in the likeness of our fragile, fierce image.
“Lord, I recall…” my childhood in one aural snapshot, listening to this song on my radio before softball practice, on the drive to my grandparents’ Bridgeport, CT home, thinking of the friends I made in school and in my neighborhood, the boy who looked at me like I was the only girl in the world.
Sunsets and block parties, kick ball and Ferris Wheel rides, endless summers thinkin’ we’d rule the world, like in that Caulfields’ song, “Rickshaw”…
“Twitching like a finger on the trigger of a gun…”
Righteous validation (of all the small town losers who defied the odds, and left without a backward glance) — in that one-two piano punch.
I’ll always associate “My Little Town” with my little towns, Ft. Shafter, Pemberton Township, Trenton, N.J., Ft. Shafter, Aiea, HI, Knoxville, KY…and defying my own odds.
Originally published at https://carolbankswebercoggie.wordpress.com on April 19, 2021.