Too pooped to pop: My mom and music

As part of the From Left to Write book club, I'm currently reading "If You Knew Suzy: A Mother, A Daughter, A Reporter's Notebook" by Katherine Rosman. In it, Rosman, a reporter to her core, documents her "investigation" into the life of her mother in order to pay tribute to Mom upon her death.

In one chapter, Rosman describes her mother's love for dance and music. Rosman's mother danced alone, she danced at parties, she danced in dance classes. And she enjoyed a wide range of music, from Peter, Paul and Mary to disco. The chapter reminded me of my own mother and her love for dance and music. Only my mom -- as always -- was a bit less conventional in her musical tastes and performances.

Of my most vivid memories of my mom and music, none have to do with lullabies or nursery rhymes or the music most might associate with Mom. My very earliest recollection of my mom and music has to do with a record album cover -- an altered album cover.

When I was about five or six years old, I remember thumbing through the stack of records in the living room, albums that must have been purchased to set the ambiance of one of Dad and Mom's parties with friends. The cover was typical of the 60s and early 70s, with a hazy shot in muted colors. It featured a seemingly naked man and woman, face to face in an embrace. The specifics of their bodies aren't clear, literally ... because my mom had used a green color crayon to draw leaves on the semi-nude cover models. Surely thinking the photo was far too risque for public consumption, Mom artfully censored it to seem more like Adam and Eve.

I have no real idea what the record was of -- for some reason, "Hitchin' a Ride" sticks in my mind -- but it had to have been a pretty darn good one for Mom to go so far as to purchase it despite those nearly naked folks on the cover. In retrospect, those carefully colored leaves so perfectly epitomize my mom: She wanted to be hip, cool and part of the in-crowd, but her prude sensibilities prevented her from going all the way.

Another memory that stands out when I think of my mom singing and dancing is the song-and-dance routine she performed when making popcorn. It was back in the day when popcorn was made in a big pot on the stove. As she heated the oil then dropped in a test kernel, Mom would start up with the popcorn song, a song that sticks in my head to this day, a song I think of when I make popcorn. Every. Single. Time. It goes like this (and you gotta do the groovy swaying of the hips and clapping of the hands to get the full effect):

Too pooped to pop, and I ain't lying.

Too pooped to pop, just sitting here frying.

I wanna get to the top,

but I'm ... too pooped to pop!

As most popcorn nowadays is made in the microwave, that song is likely lost on the younger crowd. But even when hitting the "Popcorn" button on the microwave, "Too Pooped To Pop" pops into my head and plays until the ding declaring the popcorn done.

Most of all, though, when it comes to Mom and music, I think of Tevya. Specifically, Topol's portrayal of the poor Jewish peasant in "Fiddler on the Roof." Mom had the most magical way of absolutely and perfectly mimicking Topol's charming -- yet somehow quite sad -- exclamation of how life would be different if only he had money. I have no words to describe it, so here's a short clip of Topol's dance. Ignore the subtitles, insert a petite, red-headed Irish woman and you'll get the picture:

That is what I think of most of all when I think of my mom and music. Fortunately my daughters have witnessed Grandma in full Topol mode, too. It's one of their favorite memories of Grandma. One they'll remember long after Grandma becomes too pooped to pop!

UPDATE: After reading this, Megan told me she thought "Too Pooped To Pop" was a made up song. Oh, no, no. It's for real, and here it is:

Today's question:

What do you remember about your mom and music?