The Happy Enchilada Song
You know when you’re going about your day and you stumble upon something that just makes you smile and feel warm all over? John Prine is one of those people who makes me happy out of the blue. It doesn’t matter where I am or what I’m doing, if I hear one of his songs, it immediately takes me back to Friday nights, 25 years ago hanging out with one of my best friends and one of the happiest people that I know – my Dad.
If you’ve been around here long enough, you may remember that I was born on my Dad’s 22nd birthday – my Mom went into labor on a cold, December night – unfortunately during the opening skits of Laugh In. My Dad tried to get her to wait until after the show ended but that idea didn’t sit too well with my his 20-year-old wife. From the moment I arrived on the scene – large and in charge – my Dad and I were tight and had a special bond that only people born on the same day can have. He’s said on more than one occasion that he never believed in astrology until I was born.
My folks ended up getting divorced when I was really little which started the cycle of his and hers weekends. Solo flights to Ft. Worth for summer and Christmas breaks. My Dad being the good cop to Mom’s bad cop. He was the Disney Dad and even though he could never afford Disney, he always made sure we had plenty of adventures. Camping, road trips, sleepovers with the cousins.
We didn’t get to spend as much time together as I would have liked, but when we did it always seemed to include his love of music. The Beatles, The Rolling Stones (I took him to see the Steel Wheels tour in ’91!!) and even though I fought it in the beginning, folk musician John Prine. We spent many Friday nights together where the drinks flowed, the air was smoky and the conversations plentiful and often rambling. We laughed a lot. A few tears would flow every now and then but even those eventually turned to laughs. And always with John Prine in the background.
Like many of us, life wasn’t always easy for my Dad, but I never saw these bumps in his life – he was always HAPPY and determined not to let down times rule his life. He was an artist – he could turn the most mundane thing into an adventure. He was the master of “happy” moments and magical memories. No matter what life tried to throw at him, he never let it get him down. I credit him for my eternal optimism – both of us become exhausted at being “down” for too long. My heart hurts for those who suffer from depression and I am so grateful that I am not one that it affects. But we all have our down days and we all have our up days. And I believe that it’s so important that we help each other when we can. “You’re up one day and the next you’re down”..
Like most of us who blog, John Prine is a storyteller. His songs tell stories and even he tells stories about his songs. One of my favorites is “That’s the Way That the World Goes Round” and he likes to tell the story of the lady in San Francisco who referred to the song as “the Happy Enchilada” song. Call it a classic case of “misheard lyrics.” Here’s the video.. if you want to feel happy, watch the whole thing but if you just want to get to the punch line, queue it up at 5:01.
Random happy moments that come out of nowhere are the best, aren’t they?