When C was about 4, I fell in love with the Dixie Chicks song Goodbye Earl
. The Chicks (whom C came to refer to as the Chixie Dicks) appeared on some awards show with the video (starring Dennis Franz) playing in the background. The music is catchy, the video likewise and I bought the CD Fly
, on which Goodby Earl appears. I mostly played it in the van and I would crank it up and sing along. I started out being kind of careful about not listening to it when C was in the van with me. I would listen to the rest of the songs (which were more subtlely
inappropriate for 4 year olds) and would skip Earl. Then I got complacent. He hadn't asked me what mattress dancing or the sin wagon were, for instance. So, clearly, he wasn't really paying attention, right? And I stopped skipping Earl when it came around on the CD.
But you know, part of what makes Goodbye Earl great is that it's what I think of as a Story Song. It's got a plot, tells the story in some kind of order and, like I said before, is catchy. It kind of invites - no, begs - you to pay attention to it. Especially, it would apear, if you're 4 or 5.
So one day we're tooling along listening to Earl (probably a couple of times in a row - I really like it). And from the back seat comes
did Earl have to die?"Oh shit. I have really screwed up here. He WAS listening.
"Well, honey, you know how we've talked about how we all die when it's our time? I guess it was just Earl's time."
Long pause from the back seat. Then he responds kind of confidentially - kind of like maybe I'm a little slow and he has to explain it to me: "You know, Mom, I think he was murdered