Billy Ray Cyrus, Innocence and Ramen Noodles

Oh, Billy. Did you ever think your greatest legacy would be your daughter, instead of this song? Thank goodness.

“Hi. My name is Catherine. I am nine years old.”

I glanced nervously over at my big brother, his grin both mischievous and proud. “Keep going,” he mouthed. I held the crayon written paper up in my shaking hand.

“This is my favorite radio station. Can you please play Achy Breaky Heart? It’s my favorite song.”

The dee-jay’s booming laugh bounced off my ear through the beige phone. “Shouldn’t you be in bed little girl?”

I threw the phone to my brother, the spiraled cord catching right before it hit his hands, sending it bouncing to the orangeish-brown carpet and sliding right back to me.

“Um…I guess so.” I somehow found the nerve to keep talking.

“Well alright. But after it plays, you go to bed, okay?” I guess the guy should have been concerned. After all, it was 2 a.m. Hopefully on the weekend. But I don’t remember. What I do remember is a night of innocence and laugh-til-you-cry giggles. Just me and my big bro, goofing off, without a care. I remember getting soexcited that Billy Ray was on the radio, the lyrics to his cheesy career launcher sending me into near hysterics. “Don’t break my heart, my achy breaky heart…” I sang. And danced. And annoyed my big brother. But as much as we fought growing up, this was a night that he actually liked me.

He helped me make ramen noodles in the microwave, one of the few “junk” foods we were allowed in our house. Mmm…MSG. I can still hear the familiar sound of my parent’s microwave opening and closing. They still have it. It’s probably older than me. Bought it from JCPenney’s they did. We always hit “cancel” before it got to zero, for fear of waking up my parents with the beep…beep…beep.

But we must not have been too scared. In fact, our successful radio request gave us a little boost of courage. “Let’s call again,” my brother dared. And unbelievably, we did. And I read the same script, to the same dee-jay. And it worked. He played that darn song three times. He must have been bored. But I’d like to think we were just that clever. Over and over again, I grooved to the mullet-man’s tune, while my brother added his own silliness to the lyrics, “Don’t break my fart, my achy breaky fart…”

“Stop it, Luke! I can’t hear the soooong!” Only I did hear it. Three times. And it was awesome.


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9 Responses to Billy Ray Cyrus, Innocence and Ramen Noodles

  1. IASoupMama says:

    Oh, what a great memory! I love hearing stories like this — it gives me hope that my own kids will do something equally as conspiratorial and have secret memories of their own. I just love your little-you excitement!

  2. What IASoupMama said, what she said! I also loved how much your youthful excitement comes through in this story. Three times? Clever girl!!

  3. Bill Dameron says:

    This was such a sweet story and memory. I know that I have read stories about Eric and was reading more bitter sweet memories into this until I realized it was Luke you were talking about. Your descriptive words made this come alive in my mind, the phone chord, the carpeting, calling a DJ to request a song, all of these things are in my memories too.

  4. No matter how much we try to create experiences for our kids, these spontaneous and silly ones are what we remember best. I know my kids don’t remember much about some of our orchestrated moments, but they sure get a good laugh out of remembering us all caterwauling in the car to “Dream On.”

  5. OH MY GOd, you are so young!!! Ahem. Anyway, I used to love calling the DJ’s to ask for songs. I called trying to get my DJ to play the Wham Rap all spring in 1952. Or something like that. Super awesome post. Really took me back.

  6. This is a wonderful story (even though Billy Ray was never my thing – I’m too old!). Loved the details like the orange-brown carpet, so classic!

  7. RFl says:

    Wonderful story! I had an English teacher in high school who would dance to this song in front of her classes every year. Well done.

  8. I love the whole texture of this memory – the late night giggles with your brother, preventing the microwave from beeping, feeling emboldened by having the deejay’s attention. Thoroughly enjoyed this post!

  9. Vanessa says:

    I think I like your brother’s lyrics best.

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