So this week on Facebook, as my “Friday Kick Off Song” I couldn’t help but post The Who’s “Squeeze Box”. This song makes me laugh because MY mama played the squeeze box.
When she was in high school she was a cheerleader. And we all know all the social requirements of being such. Perfectly manicured hair, dating Johnny Footballstar, not talking to the band geeks… But she was also forced to play a musical instrument. So for whatever reason, mom chose the accordion. Which gives me mental images of my mom in the 60’s looking like Weird Al Yankovic playing her squeeze box at the county fair.
And she actually did play at the county fair.
In high school, the poor girl had to play in the bandstand on the main drag. In small towns like where we grew up, the county fair used to be the social event of the summer. While all her friends were riding the ferris wheel, kissing boys and making lovely 60’s memories… my poor mama played the squeeze box.
When my grandmother would host any sort of social engagement at her house, the main attraction was my mom and her accordion. The thought of 20 little old church ladies tapping their toes to my mom’s favorite squeezebox jams generally is enough to cause me to shoot liquids out of my nose.
But it apparently eventually worked out for her in her favor. Once we took her to a “Name that Tune” night at some beer-and-wings joint. She was feeling a little discouraged since most of the DJ’s repertoire consisted of Nickelback, Backstreet Boys and other fantastic artists of our generation that she had never even heard of. But just as she was getting ready to throw in the towel, the DJ announced he would give anyone who could name the last tune $50! He was clearly pleased with himself and seemed 100% certain that nobody would EVER get this one.
Well, she got it…
The song was “Beer Barrel Polka”. He was flabbergasted and went home $50 poorer while we had another round of margaritas!
Sadly, over the course of the past 50 years, the accordion has lived a sad and lonely life up in our attic. Cold and alone, collecting dust and decaying while taking on that old, creepy, musty attic smell.
But every great once in a while, one of us would come across it in the attic (probably looking for those giant plastic 70’s Christmas decorations), and we would bring that sucker down and force my mom to play us a little ditty. She always acted embarrassed, but after a just a little bit of coaxing, she would always oblige. Oh what JOY that stinky squeeze box would bring to our hearts!
We never wanted the joy to end! So one year for Christmas as a gag, someone bought mom a miniature toy accordion. She didn’t think it was quite as funny as we did at first, but every year now the biggest surprise on Christmas morning is finding out who got re-gifted Mama’s Squeeze Box!
Happy Mother’s Day mama! I love you!