The one country station that isn’t staticky in our local area has a tendency to be redundant in the songs they choose, playing only a handful of hits from the eighties and nineties sporadically while making sure tunes that are trying to chart a number one are played over and over again. So instead of putting up with hearing the same songs a thousand times in one day, I’ve been switching to the other two stations in the area, dealing with a large quantity of static for the sake of variety.
Today, out of frustration from hearing “1994” for the zillionth time, I flipped to one of the not-as-clear stations just in time to hear one of my favorite George Strait songs straining through the fuzziness. “Check Yes or No” was a massive hit for the King of Country Music back in 1995, becoming his twenty-eighth number-one single on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. The song depicts the tale of a childhood crush that turns into a lifelong marriage, catalyzed by the passing of a note during a third grade class. Emmylou, the Juliet of the song, innocently writes her paramour a love letter, asking him to “check yes or no” as to whether or not he reciprocates the feeling. Fast-forward twenty years and the pair are still together, just as in love now as they were when they were eight. The song has withstood the test of time and is still regarded as one of the most idyllically written love stories of country music.
The strongest memory I have of this song is being a three-year-old toddler glued to the television, fascinated by music videos on CMT (you know, when CMT actually aired videos at an earthly hour). For me, the scene that stood out the most was when the man placed a cowboy hat upon his head and led his wife into a George Strait concert, making me naively believe, even at that young of an age, that love, and falling into it, was really that simple. To this day, my mother and I dance around our kitchen to this song, recalling the lyrics effortlessly as we sing at the top of our lungs.
This song is not connected to the memory of any past crush, nor does it make me daydream about a future boyfriend. However, it does render me nostalgic, taking me back in time to an era where life was as easy as passing a note in class to confess romantic feelings. I wish I possessed the courage those two children had; they expressed their love without regret or fear of being unrequited. If only love were as easy as checking yes or no. If only life were as carefree as a George Strait song.