I grew up a Rush kid. I know many of you out there were Rush kids too, so it’s understandable that I feel a part of my childhood and teen years ended the other day when I read that Rush Limbaugh had died.
I don’t care which side of the political fence you swing, Rush was an integral part of our political discourse landscape. You either loved what he had to say. Agreed with parts of it. Or consider him foolish and so right winged that what he had to say would infuriate you. Regardless, he appeal to us all in a lot of different ways.
Rush was the epitome of my childhood afterschool memories. No matter what the reason for an afterschool trip to Jasper or an early school check out for the dentist, Rush played on the radio. I listened his voice and his radio show’s bumper music from the time we rolled out of Oakman Elementary School until we finally, after hours of running errands, leaving the doctor or heading home from a dance class, returned home.
I can remember lamenting to my mom to please let me listen to the Backstreet Boys in the car but with no such luck. When Rush was on I was quiet and together we all listened. Then, when he went off Paul Finebaum would come on. Politics to college football. There was no hope for my radio ears. Even my friends had to endure it. It was just a normal part of the Pitts radio club. If we weren’t in the car, Rush played on a radio in the kitchen, while mom prepared supper and I sat at the table and whined about my math homework.
As a nine and ten year-old, my ears were thrust into a political world I had no clue about and didn’t understand. Eventually, I grew up and found myself off at college, missing my mom and dad and my orange tabby cat. Sometimes, just to feel like I was home, I would turn Rush on in the car and listen to him dabble on about the world while driving from campus to the apartment. I had no clue what he was talking about but to hear him made me feel at home
A month ago I visited my dad at his work. In his office sat a tiny radio and softly playing in the background was the Rush Limbaugh show’s bumper music. Yep, some parts of our lives find a strong commonality to us and never leave.
I’m older now, much older than the kid coming from the dental visit or the teen at college. I have strong political views that matter to me and how I conduct my business and take care of my family. And perhaps I have listens to a little Rush from time to time, understanding it a whole lot more now than I did when I was a kid.
Regardless, I am one of the many across the America that grew up a Rush kid. And I think I turned out just fine.
Laura Pitts is a former Daily Mountain Eagle reporter. She now serves as director of the Scottsboro Public Library.