For the past few months, All Things Considered has asked for your memories of music that reminds you of winter.
For listener Veronica Horton of Vermillion, S.D., “Tennessee” Ernie Ford’s “Sixteen Tons” reminds her of dancing in the back of a barn in Minnesota.
“When I connected with that song, I was living in a little town called Forest Lake, Minn. We lived in the country,” Horton says in an interview with All Things Considered host Melissa Block. “My mom and dad were hard-working people, and you made fun with what you had. Come a weekend, my mom would have the radio playing and she’d always be singing along with it. I remember us kids always snapping our fingers and going along with Ernie Ford.
“It takes me back to Thanksgiving weekend, 1963. The country was in turmoil and it had only been a week since the president had been assassinated. I can remember going outside and just feeling safe. My parents always made us feel safe at home.
“We had ponies. They were out in the field and they had their winter coats, you know, they’re all fuzzy and woolly-looking. We had an old car that kinda bit the dust, and my dad parked it out back of the barn, and that’s where it was laid to rest,” Horton says, laughing. “I just remember being bundled up. We hadn’t had any snow, yet, and it was so cold. It was almost like you could feel it trying to snow, but it just wouldn’t.
“I went outside; I had my Western boots on, and I climbed up on the roof of that car and I tap-danced out ‘Sixteen Tons.’ [It was] totally uninhibited and it was wonderful and my horses looked at me like, ‘What is she doing?’ And, you know, nothing can beat the feeling of dancing on the hood of an old car. You can’t get a video game that does that to you.”
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