To me, a community is made up of two main components. First, the place you feel the most at home. That place for me is my hometown, Friendswood, TX, where everyone knows everyone and I know I can completely be myself there. Second, a community consists of the people that make you feel the most at home even if you are not there. The adorably cliché quote, “home is wherever I’m with you” is pretty much on point when it comes to describing who those people are. “My people,” are the group of girl friends that I started elementary school with, experienced the most awkward of life phases with, and celebrated with after walking across the stage on graduation day in a tragic royal blue cap and gown. Fast forward almost 4 whole years and I would still say that even after distance separated our friendships, my “Friendswood friends” will always be my most important community.
With a group of friends that are as close knit as mine are, we all obviously have a lot of characteristics in common, but we are all very different and quirky in our own ways. We tend to have our own styles, have different hobbies, definitely different tastes in guys, and an extremely broad range of “favorite” genres. From jamming The Red Hot Chili Peppers to Queen Beyoncé, we would all overwhelmingly agree that country music brings out this uniting factor among us that other music just can’t do.
I can’t really come up with one aspect of country music that connected us, but man did we make a ton of memories through loving the country genre (or love daydreaming about George Strait). Maybe it was the cowboy boots, cutoff blue jean shorts (that wereprobably extremely inappropriate looking back on it), or the “red-dirt” Texas country concerts we couldn’t miss on the weekends. Whatever it was that made country music consume our lives created an extremely vivid timeline of events that never fails to keep my people literally stuck like glue– thanks Sugarland.
It seems generic to say that a song can bring back 1000 memories almost instantly, but that’s exactly what happens when I shuffle through an old playlist and come across songs that just hit home and bring a flood of emotions pouring over me. Growing up two-stepping at Garner State Park is such a great example of how country music kept us together as a group of close friends. We always went on trips to the Frio River to obviously have a blast floating, but we mostly went to enjoy a great Gary Allan album as we were floating and to go dancing with ‘randoms’ at Garner. That tradition still continues today (maybe without the random guys) and the memories of everyone singing “I’ve got lightening in my veins and thunder in my chest” while floating down the river won’t ever be erased!
Another thing about country music that makes it so important to my friends is the way a single song takes you back in time for 3 short minutes and remember exactly what we were going through, what party we were at, or what stage of life we were in when the song was a hit. To this day, when I hear Check Yes or No I think of my junior high boyfriend and how ridiculously “in love” I was at the age of 14. If I come across Red Light by David Nail I remember my best friend asking me to replay it over and over again because she was obsessed. When I shuffle through old playlists and come across songs that I would listen to on blast in the car, sun roof open, windows down, screaming at the top of our lungs, I am so thankful to have fallen in love with country music. No other genre kept my friends together over the years like country music did and those memories are irreplaceable.