By Joe Rector

I took grandson Madden home after a short visit with us. After a few hours of babysitting, I crawled back into my little Nissan Sentra for the return trip. Radio stations fade out quickly as I drive home on the interstate, so, I plugged in my iPod and have access to hundreds of songs. That’s when I relaxed, forgot about the cars and trucks passing by at 90-plus miles per hour, and belted out the lyrics to song that I knew.

Something happens to most of us when we sit behind the wheel of a car. The itch to listen to music to help pass the time hits, and we scratch it by tuning in stations or our own collection of music. We also have a tendency to sing along. Even if a person is much too shy to sing in public, he or she will lift a voice to the heavens and let the sounds come out. Some folks sing well, but others would have difficulty carrying a tune in a bucket. In a car, however, all of us seem to think we sound like fabulous entertainers who could wow concert crowds.

Proper singing position in a car requires a driver to lean back ever so slightly. As the song begins, the head must turn upward just a bit so that the words and melody escape toward the heavens. On some dramatic, heart and gut-wrenching song, the eyes have to close briefly for emphasis. The grasp on the steering wheel tightens and loosens depending on the emotion of the lyrics.

What singing drivers don’t often realize is that other motorists are watching. They see us performing as we speed down the highway. Sometimes, other drivers fear that we are experiencing a serious health problem and that our pained expressions indicate the need for help. Other times, they laugh aloud at our head bobbing or facial expressions. The biggest guffaws are reserved for the car singers who project their voices into imaginary microphones that they hold.

By the time a singer arrives home from a long trip, his throat feels raw, his muscles ache, and his body is sweaty. He’s given one of the best performances of his entire driving life, and he walks into his house, dumps his stuff, and plops into the recliner for the rest of the evening. Singing on the road is tough work.

I used to be an okay singer. Somewhere along the line, acid reflux and age crippled my vocal chords. My greatest joy used to be singing harmony to songs. However, these days I can’t even carry a tune for long before my voice fades into nothing more than a whisper, something that might possibly be a blessing to riders. I mouth the words to songs when that happens, and yes, like others, I make up words to some songs with which I am not so familiar. The music does soothe the beast that rages in me when other cars cut in front of me in dangerous manners or when I am trapped behind a semi-truck that is rolling at slow speeds up long grades.

My taste in music includes oldies, country, and religious songs. I also have a few comedy recordings on my iPod. When they shuffle, sometimes an old favorite hymn is followed by a routine by Robin Williams or Rodney Carrington. I hope the Lord forgives the mixture.

Everyone should enjoy those favorite songs that play over devices, and singing along is just a natural thing to do. It is important to remember, however, that others are watching your performance and might enjoy a laugh at your expense. Also, remember that your main job is to drive safely so that you reach your destination.