Just Hum.


It’s probably some sort of mental tick or deficiency, I just know it. I hum all the time. My father was a hummer, genetic you see. Some say it is a sign of a happy heart,…I tend to think it is one of those threads that I hang on to, just to maintain my sanity.

I was consulting a new client today, he has a pending assault charge, the result of a domestic violence disturbance at his house. He said, “I was drunk, we argued, I punched her.” The guy was reviewing the employment contract, that I have all my clients sign, when I realized I was doing it. I was humming, “Bad Bad Leroy Brown” by Jim Croce. The client looked up at me and we both smiled…..he hired me.

Maybe I am blogging about this today to see if there are anymore like me out there? I have my own internal soundtrack playing at all times, really don’t even need to turn on the car radio. Recently, I have been stuck in 1973. If you check the Billboard Top 100 from 1973, you will be amazed…some really great music.

My mother used to take my sister Junene and I to the Army Navy Store, circa 1973, to shop for jeans. They had the bell-bottom/hip-huggers we loved, in every conceivable color. They were cheap so we could afford to buy several pair each. We would go home and throw them on our bed and start matching up the colors with our tops.

We had orange shag carpet in our room and a black light. Junene had every inch of the walls and ceiling covered with black light posters. We would switch on the turn-table and listen to Santana, Chicago, Cat Stevens, Sly and the Family Stone, and Elton John…just to name a few. We would lay on the floor with our feet stuck up on the bed, reading album liner notes. I was one cool chick in the fifth grade.

That is the about the time I told my mother whatever happened to me in life…I never wanted to get “raked!” She asked what I was talking about? I told her I saw on the news where 3 young girls were “raked” in Dallas. I envisioned a scary man with a large lawn implement, lurking in our front shrubs.

I used to play touch football with all the neighborhood kids. We would come home, throw our books on the kitchen table, and run out of the house. No childhood obesity to worry about in those days. If we weren’t playing football, we were riding our bikes…constantly. I had a red Schwinn with a banana seat, of course. My friend, Rod, and I disassembled the swing set in my backyard and used the long metal rod supports for front-fork extenders. We made a standard bicycle into an “Easy Rider” chopper in short order. Then of course, you had to attach a playing card to the front wheel spokes, with a clothes pin, to add just the right audio for our cruises on Oak Street.

The neighborhood was abuzz one summer when a new restaurant, we had never heard of before opened, called “Pizza Inn,” on Pipeline Road. A tall kid, with sandy hair came knocking one day and my mother answered the front door. He was handing out coupons for one free, small, pizza..trying to get the locals to try the new hang-out in town. My mother asked the kid if he was tired and he responded affirmatively. She said, “If I give you five bucks, you can quit for the day. Just give me that stack of coupons and no one will be the wiser.” We ate pizza that summer like nobody’s business….my mother made a different kid go in each time and pick up the goods. She figured out a seven man rotation would help us elude detection….it worked.

We had a driveway that was on an steep incline. My father would arrive home every day about 6pm and park his 1968 tan Cadillac Deville. Invariably, he would forget to set the emergency brake and the car would slide down the drive, cross the street and wind up in our neighbor’s front yard. This happened at least 5 times, never once hitting the neighbor’s house, always settling down nicely right up against their shrubs. They had a sense of humor about it…one evening my father pulled up to find a 2 ft by 2 ft sign in the neighbor’s yard. It read, “Reserved Parking, Jim Only.” He walked across the street, and ripped the sign out of the yard, embarrassed.

I was standing on the sidewalk, playing with with my Clackers that evening. You remember that toy with the two acrylic balls, on rope tethers that you smashed together? They were taken off the market after several kids Clackered themselves right into brain-damage. My father walked past me, threw the sign in the trash can, and proceeded into the house…..I think I heard him humming.

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9 responses to “Just Hum.

  1. Our mutual friend (Defense Attorney) also hums, I sing. You two counselors are keeping it to yourselves, I’m blurting it out…

  2. my daughter hums and I had orange clackers. Love the stories!

  3. You keep me rolling…..I loved 1973!!! My senior year in HS in Memphis,Tn. Talk about music! Only the best back then…..

  4. Thanks, Julya! I’m an infrequent hummer, but I suspect I will probably be humming all day long now!

  5. Thanks for the story Julya, yes I hmm, sing or whistle! My dad was a whistler and I love your growing up stories. In my neighborhood, here in TN, we played kick the kan, road our backs, ran all over the neighborhood – it was wonderful.

  6. I sing. Don’t even realize I’m doing it.

  7. i am totally a hummer! it’s how i know i am in a good mood. as a nurse however, i have figured out that humming “Taps” at a patient’s home is not a good thing….

  8. How funny, I too am a hummer. Hum around the house, use to hum at work and always had people ask…”what are you so happy about?”.
    Keep writing, these are great. I remember the clackers!!!!

  9. Thanks for the write! Humming I have always veiwed as one is either nervious or bored with whoever they are with? Thanks for the new insight.

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