The songs for "my" hurricane, though - that is, the music that brings back memories from the first one I experienced on North Caicos, Hurricane Irene in 2011 - are a bit different.
First, there's the 1936 Matty Malneck song, "Goody Goody." Why? As Irene strengthened, a hurricane family gathered in my house: me, my Bahamian friend Aggie on a visit, and neighbor Addison, who thought it might comfort us to have a male around. While the electricity stayed on, we watched old movies. "Mrs. Henderson Presents" from 2005 was on when the power finally went out. "Goody Goody" was one of the last things we heard before the sound of relentless wind took over.
"So you met someone who
set you back on your heels,
In retrospect, it was appropriate, since hurricanes do set you back on your heels.
We'd expected most of what happened, but not the endurance of the storm. When there was still wind and rain after a full 24 hours, Addison began to sing, "Goodnight Irene." Yup. Perfect, even though I was surprised that he knew the song.
Then there was the aftermath. Although we, and Aloe House, had come through safely, island life in general was disrupted. And Tom was due to arrive in Provo! His first flight, the day after the storm, was canceled because of the airport closure. The next day was a mishmash of conflicting information and shaky communications. Would he make it? Would I be able to get to Provo to greet his flight? Would I be able to get from the ferry dock to the airport, given the reports we were getting about flooding on Provo? As I kept trying to get online and figure out which local phone service was working, I was getting more and more frustrated. Suddenly Aggie slapped a drink in front of me and began singing Bob Marley's "Every little thing's gonna be all right."
It was, and the song still resonates as a buffer in a difficult time.
I'm pretty sure that most people associate major life events with songs. I remember working with a compositor at a newspaper in Pennsylvania who would mist over at the first few notes of Glenn Miller's "In the Mood." It was, for him, both a war song and a courtship song.
But the association must be organic. Tom and I were both dismayed that for "our" war - the first Gulf, when we were waking at 2 a.m. so Tom could do his grisly-necessary job of making sure that guys on the flight line to Kuwait had made and signed a will - the songs forced upon us were Lee Greenwood's "Proud to be an American" (I wasn't, when this all seemed to be about oil) and "Wind Beneath My Wings" (which is aerodynamically incorrect). So I had no war music. Just the question, "What are you doing here?" when I'd appear at work at 4 a.m., too awake to go back to sleep. Even newspaper folks were kept out of the loop of what was really happening. And I guess that's a song in its own right.
So. Hurricane season? It's going to happen, no matter how much we worry or prepare. What might be new is what's on the soundtrack.