Often as Ryan and I are talking, we realize that we lived very parallel lives before we met. Just the other day, we were driving to see his grandma and passed an old drugstore in Pleasant Grove. From the back seat, Christian said, “That’s weird to call it a drugstore. Like, hey, come and get your drugs here!”
Ryan and I busted up laughing. I said, “That’s so funny. That’s exactly what I thought when I was a kid. It seemed so weird to me.”
Ryan said, “Me too! I thought that was terrible to call it a drugstore.”
We were children of the eighties and if there was one thing we learned from the Reagan presidency, it was this: Drugs are bad.
Another example was the opening of the Little Caesar’s pizza chain in our area. We discussed it once and realized that we both were having very similar thoughts at that time: “Little Kay-sars? Little Sez-ers? What the crap?” It drove us both batty that we didn’t know how to pronounce it. We were old enough to know how to read well and therefore too proud to ask for help. (Don’t be too shocked. Utah kids don’t get a lot of Roman history in elementary school.)
There are a dozen other examples, which I can provide for you by e-mail if you’re looking for a good, non-narcotic sedative, but there is one that is especially dear that I’d like to share. Both of us, at different elementary schools, in the fifth grade learned the Ray Charles classic, Fifty Nifty United States.
There are a lot of things I can’t remember about fifth grade. There are probably hundreds of mathematical theories and historical facts that have long been pushed out of my long-term memory to make place for some really great episodes of Drake & Josh, but I have NEVER forgotten the words to that song in the last twenty years. That particular space of gelatinous brain tissue has been permanently reserved. I loved that song, and I loved knowing and repeating the impressive alphabetical list of states.
Anyway, one day years and years ago I thought I would impress Ryan with my amazing memorization skills and offered to list all fifty states. (What, isn’t that how you wooed your prospective mate?) When I started singing the list, he joined me before I could get to Arkansas and we sang the rest of the song together. Let me just say this—if I wasn’t sure before that moment that I would spend the rest of my life with him, that certainly sealed the deal.
Over the years, we have sung the song three hundred and eighty seven thousand times to our kids. Three of those times they were actually impressed. Now we use it as a punishment.
Yesterday in the car, Christian was trying to memorize the states so I offered to sing the song again. He didn’t really want me to, but I sang it seven times anyway and by the time we reached our final destination, he actually had it 98% memorized. (He keeps forgetting Missouri.)
When we got home, I tried to find the song on iTunes for him, but I guess there are no digital recordings of it. However, we did find these little gems on YouTube:
The first is an entire fifth grade glass singing. I got a little weepy, I’ll be honest.
And this—THIS—is cuter than all the fluffy bunnies, kittens, and puppies in the universe.
So now I’m wondering—did you also learn this song? And if so, do you still sing it every night before you turn the lightswitch in your closet off and on exactly seven times?