It was bound to happen sooner or later.
After all, we live just to the left of the middle of nowhere, surrounded by fields of every stripe and contour. As much as I hate to admit it, most urban-dwellers would say we live in the country.
But The Princess is still just a baby in my mind. She's a sweet, little thing. So young and impressionable.
Of course that's the problem, right there. She's young and impressionable. Prone to errors in judgment, like all youth. Like I was once. Although never like this. I swear.
Somehow I always thought she would benefit from the influence of nearby, uber-hip Iowa City. Sure, I worried a little about the University of Iowa's party school reputation, but this?
Never saw it coming.
I just wasn't ready for it yet. Then again, maybe no parent ever is.
I mean sure, she drives a pick up truck. Sure, she's in FFA – which used to stand for Future Farmers of America but now just stands for FFA (but only FFA members know that) – even though she's a good two generations removed from actually living on a farm. Go figure.
And yes, the local FFA chapter still has a Drive Your Tractor To School Day during FFA Recognition Week. And yes, she really, really wanted to drive a tractor to school. But we don't have one.
In the end, it was her FFA connections that proved to be the bad influence.
I blame FFA and Iowa State University.
She left home for the Iowa FFA Leadership Conference at ISU as my little radio hog. She came home a changed young woman.
She came home a stranger to me.
She came home listening to country music.
It seems like just last week she was listening to a playlist that almost exclusively featured rap and hip-hop music. Tunes – to use the term loosely – in which every other word should have been bleeped out. And the words that didn't need to be bleeped out couldn't be used in polite or politically correct conversation.
It seems like just last week when she wasn't listening to hip-hop lyrics that caused even me to blush, she was listening to overly-harmonized boy bands and the high-pitched, breathy whining of the latest pop-Tart of the month.
It seems like only last week because it was only last week.
Where has the time gone?
I feel a little (very little) like Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof:
Is this the little girl I weaned on 80s music?
Is this the little girl playing those awful Kidz Bop CDs?
I don't remember voluntarily handing her the aux cord,
When did they?
There she was, fresh off the school van, excitedly telling me about the food and the architecture, and the mullets (or lack thereof), and oh, yeah, there were presentations and stuff, too, when – as The Gap Band would have said – she “dropped a bomb on me, baby.”
“Who knew country music could be my jam?”
OK, now the very fact that she used “jam” and “country music” in the same sentence with “jam” being slangfor “my favorite” and not slang for an “improvised musical performance,” is just wrong.
Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.
This is not about the fact that I am not a big country music fan.
OK, maybe it is. Full disclosure: My least favorite Billy Joel song is “Shameless.” It's not that I don't like the way Billy Joel sings it, but no matter how many times I hear the Billy Joel version, I am always reminded of the Garth Brooks version.
The only country music song I have ever actively sought out (that I will admit to) is "The Rodeo Song" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tX6ggRByE8g). Come to think of it, every fourth word of that song should be bleeped out, so maybe country music and hip-hop aren't always so different after all.
Not that it really matters because tonight when I hopped in the truck, she had the radio tuned to pop music again.
But I'm still not handing her the aux cord.