Layce and I were listening to Captain and Tennille on vinyl. We were way old schooling it. I was just coming into an appreciation of C and T. There’s a lot more to them as musicians and singers than I had heretofore realized—a bit of jazz, a bit of blues, Toni’s vocal range and all that. But I’ve always had an issue with Muskrat Love.
Tonight I gave it an honest listen. I still couldn’t wrap my mind around the lyrics. I looked over at Layce, who was knitting and listening contentedly. “Do you think Muskrat Love is really about muskrats or does it have a deeper meaning? Is it a euphemism for the vagaries of love?”
“I have no idea. I just like the song,” she said, not looking up from her knit and purl thing.
“I’m going to look it up.” Oh, the dangers of instant knowledge. I read, furrowed my brow and said, “It is about muskrats, anthropomorphized muskrats. The band America did it but Captain and Tennille made it truly famous.”
“Hmm…good to know,” Layce said, still knitting and purling.
“She makes it sound like they’re cute little otters, swimming around and shimmying. I don’t think otters or muskrats shimmy, much less have protestations of love. Have you ever seen a muskrat? They’re not cute.”
Layce refrained from comment. That just encouraged me. I mistook silence for agreement. “They’re swimming rats.” I looked up photos. “Big rats. They look like a cross between a guinea pig and beaver with a rat tail that swims.”
“You’re wrecking the song for me,” Layce said.
“They used to make nests under the docks at my parent’s cabin. Imagine swimming around and coming face-to-face with a large swimming rat that makes the top 40 charts. No wonder I have issues when it comes to swimming in lakes and rivers. Swimming rats, that why.”
I further perused the Internet. “And the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have winter hats made out of muskrat fur. Imagine wearing that on your head. I mean, who in their right mind wears rat fur on their head? What’s wrong with a nice knit hat?”
“I wouldn’t mention that the next time you visit your Canadian relatives,” Layce said.
The rats were now nibbling on bacon and chewing on cheese. “And muskrats do not eat bacon and cheese, nor propose marriage. I don’t care if they did it muzzle to muzzle.”
Layce put her knitting down and went over to the turntable. With one quick pluck of the needle, Muskrat Love was no more. “I can’t do this anymore.”
“Did I ever tell you the story about me in the outhouse and the pack rat? Have you ever seen a pack rat? Imagine looking over in the dimness and seeing a pair of rat eyes?”
“I’m done with rats,” Layce said, putting on another album, one without muskrats.
“Well, at least pack rats aren’t immortalized in a song,” I muttered.
“Thank goodness or we’d never hear the end of it.”
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It’s on whispersync, too!