GUEST COLUMN: I’ll dance at your wedding
Thursday, 23 August 2012 by Mark Magnan
Recently a friend made a comment that was formally a colorful way to say "thank you". The saying was, "I will dance at your wedding". I assume this was a way to show thanks and honor by dancing at such a momentous event in the life of a friend.
Years ago weddings were a major occurrence, especially in a small town. I have attended a few in the past that were quite a big celebration, some of those in east Bell County. It was much more than a simple ceremony at a church, it would spill over to the SPJST Hall and go on well into the night. Dancing seemed like a big part of the event.
As my friend made the comment, he also noted that it didn't make as much sense as it did years ago when weddings were a much bigger event.
Of course that got me to thinking about other sayings that no longer make sense. Of course there are regional sayings that wouldn't make sense outside of Texas or outside of a small community, such as, "He/She must have a burr under their saddle."
Have you ever heard the old saying, "You sound like a broken record"? This was in reference to someone that asked something too many times or repeated themselves. For young people in the reading audience, when a record was broken or badly scratched it would repeat a section over and over until it was stopped or knocked past the bad part. Depending on the type of record the repeated portion could be fairly long. Now everyone that ever listened to the radio when they actually played records knew that at some point they would hear a "broken record". For anyone that worked in radio this was a dreaded sound, it only seemed to happen when you put on a significantly long record for a needed break, then when you were at the maximum distance down the hallway you would hear the record skip and then go over and over the same spot. I know this from firsthand experience.
A lot of young people may have never seen a record except in an antique store, if they ever venture into such a place. Records came in several varieties. The 78 rpm record was on the way out before I was born. These things were huge and heavy, and were actually fragile. The next generation was the 33 1/3rd and the 45. The LP or Long Play record was an "album", it has several songs on each side. The 45 was the hit song or songs from the album and then an unknown song on the flip side. The quality of these records was very good, especially the stereo effects. The only problem was after many hours of play the records could develop a static sound. Of course they were subject to scratches and breaks, even though they were made of vinyl.
Somewhere in here 8-track and cassette tapes were popular as well, mostly because they were quite portable and especially useful for vehicles.
But we are talking about records. Record players were quite varied. We had one when I was young that was a huge wooden box with a big speaker in the front, a HiFi. The wood was good quality and the box was like a nice piece of furniture. It was prominent in our living room. Then there were the smaller portable record players, those varied from a child's type to more sophisticated stereos. Then for true stereo-philes there were the component systems.
The next major generation was the CD. When these were damaged they just made some form of digital sound that didn't make sense. Or often they simply didn't work and were ejected by the player.
Now music is just a file. There is nothing physical to put your hands on, it is like the music only exists in some mystical electronic world deep inside some bit of plastic. The positive side is that this file can't be scratched or dropped and broken. The negative side is that when something happens and the song is "broken" it is usually shot. You don't really know what happens, and honestly there is nothing for the "something" to happen to, it just happens and your song doesn't work any longer. With a record often you could do something to fix the problem. But if the record was beyond repair you still had something tangible to look at and possibly do something with later on.
I enjoy the new music and the quality that doesn't seem to degrade with time. But at times I miss the old days when I could hold an interesting album cover while listening to the actual album. Maybe I can put on a record and dance, without the whole wedding thing.