The son of Major FM Tinseth remembers his father and the music that brings him to life in his memory.
Major FM Tinseth, South Korea, 1971
A change—due to my father’s death—is the ability to suffer fools. I’ve always considered myself the biggest. Impatience with others and myself have taken a toll. I find I’m a lot less judgmental and more aware than ever since his death—no one is perfect. It’s such a release, I can’t understand why I never saw it before.
Maybe Monty helps. Sunday mornings my father made a foul smelling breakfast of garlic, eggs and onions to the cascading violins of Mantovani piped through our house. He loved jazz, folk, Bossa Nova and riverboat, but I think Monty was his favorite.
No doubt an early influence from his father, a sergeant major who managed Army radio stations and probably resembles, more than I’d like to ever admit, the easy listening, Sergeant Major Dickerson in, “Good Morning, Vietnam.”
I picked up a taste for Montavani (warning: cheesy video) as well. Listening to ‘The Very Best of” while driving from Chicago to Denver one summer, the lack of lyrics lent a “closing credits” soundtrack to the two day drive past Iowa farms, Nebraska slaughter houses and too many hours of the Rockies.
But it’s the Sundays growing up that I remember the syrup melody most. It must have soothed the old man. It does me. And as much as I like him, it is hard to listen to Joe Strummer as background music. Trust me, I tried.
But Monty allows conversation and rumination. And on a slow Sunday, with nowhere to go but a lazy crawl through newspaper, garlic, egg and onions, coffee and lots of memories, it ain’t bad at all. Time. Place. Occasion.