Welcome to my new musical series for 2021, “30 Days, 30 Songs.” Follow me this year as I blatantly steal this Instagram challenge all in the name of good music and good fun. Every other week, I’ll cover one or two or more topics from the list (see here for a refresher), allowing them to percolate over musical memories, nostalgia, and whatever else comes to mind in the moment. And now, gimme a beat boys to free my soul, I wanna get lost in this rock and roll!
Day 12: A song from your preteen years
A song from my preteen years is “Arky Arky” from Kids Praise! 2.
And I kinda wish it wasn’t, oof.
I’ve mentioned before that I grew up in a religious family. Actually, scratch that. I grew up with a very religious mother. To this day I really couldn’t explain my dad’s religious leanings, if he has any, but my mom was Catholic, and so were me and my siblings. And I don’t say that as a bad thing, because at the time, it wasn’t, at least not always. As I grew older, the fun of getting all dressed up for early Sunday mass grew less enjoyable, sure, but I still did it.
In any event, throughout most of my childhood, my mom was pretty involved in our church, to the point where, for a short time, she even ran it’s program of CCD or catechism classes (though that last may be redundant), which, yes, I attended too. And I participated in other church-led events, went on field trips, sung in the choir, and I even helped out in some of those CCD classes. Point is, religion was a thing in my house when I was a kid.
I’ve no recollection of exactly when we were first introduced to Psalty, the blue hymn book featured on a series of albums called Kids Praise!, and his crew of musical juveniles, but we had several albums from the series, which I, of course, listened to on my very swanky Fisher-Price record player, because who wouldn’t?! And when I wasn’t jamming out to by mom’s stash of ABBA tapes (it strikes me that most pop music was “off limits” then, except for ABBA lol), I was listening to Psalty’s kids singing about Jesus and the Bible and more Jesus, and sometime animals like in “Arky Arky,” a…um, light-hearted…take on Noah’s Ark.
Hearing this song now (and these albums in searching for this most memorable one, though “The Butterfly Song” hits close, too) now brings up a really strange set of emotions. I have to admit that foremost among them is embarrassment, even knowing that I don’t have any reason to be embarrassed. That’s likely tied more into me being a supremely awkward 10-14-year-old than anything else, but I can’t help that the feeling is there. There’s also a good bit of happiness, because among all my warped memories are good ones of my and my siblings dancing around like loons to “Arky Arky” and its ilk. And yeah, there’s a tinge of sadness at remembering times lost, simpler times, and times with fellow church-goers who have since passed on.
I don’t take back what I said up there, that I kinda wish this wasn’t the first preteen-years song I remembered, because I wish it wasn’t. I could have tried to remember something cooler; hell, even something from ABBA would have done. But the reality is that I have never been “cool.” Not in all my years on this earth has that word ever been used to describe me…at least that I know of. And so, Psalty and “Arky Arky” is it. At least the song is somewhat cute and…
What? Oh, it’s not even that?