RUSH: David in Nashville, you’re next. Great to have you as we kick off a brand-new week on the EIB Network. Hello.
CALLER: Thank you, Rush. Merry Christmas.
RUSH: Same to you, sir.
CALLER: Well, I just wanted to share a story with you. I was listening to old Mannheim Steamroller this morning: Christmas Lullaby.
CALLER: And it took me back to a time when you closed out your Christmas season giving an inspirational talk while that music was playing, and it was a very difficult time in my life, and I just want you to know how much you inspired me to pull through during that time.
RUSH: Well, thank you. I remember that. I’ve sometimes done it on Christmas Lullaby, but usually we do it over Silent Night. That song, even though I’ve lost my hearing and I cannot hear all of the frequency ranges in it, my memory supplies the melody. It still makes me tear up as though I were on Meet the Press, talking about —
CALLER: When it was on this morning, I started to tear up, just the memory of that.
RUSH: Well, you know, I have to tell you something. The same thing happened to me in a different way, when I was first exposed to Mannheim Steamroller. It forget the year now. Well, I was first exposed to them in Sacramento in the 1980s. I was watching a playoff football game. I remember the Seattle Seahawks were playing in it, and, as they would play bump music, NBC going into commercial break would play this Christmas music, but I was unfamiliar with it. So I started asking around the radio station, KFBK, the production director said, ‘Oh, yeah, it’s Mannheim Steamroller.’ So I went out and I bought a bunch of whatever the existing Mannheim Steamroller Christmas CDs were at the time and immediately fell in love with them — and then, in 1990, which was a tough time of the year for me because my father passed away, I remember I was flying on an American Airlines MD-80 out to California while I was ill. It was late at night and I was going out for a speaking engagement and I had my little Walkman at the time that played cassettes, and I had recorded a bunch of Mannheim Steamroller music on it, and I had the earphones in. We were at 35,000 feet, looking out the window. It was just a crystal, crystal clear night. It was in December, a crystal clear night, and I’m looking down over God’s creation, and this music, it just brought back all of the joyous family times that I had had as a kid growing up with our whole extended family. I started tearing up. The Mannheim Steamroller music, ever since then, has had a deep, heartfelt connection with me and my memory and psyche — not just the fact that I like the music for what it is. So I can understand how it could affect you the same way, and I appreciate you calling and saying so.
CALLER: Hey, Rush, we grew up close to each other.
RUSH: How come I don’t sound like you then?
CALLER: (chuckles) Do I have a su’n accent?
RUSH: No, no, no. (laughs) You have a Southern accent and I don’t. I used to. You know, in southeast Missouri — where I grew up they call it ‘Swampeast Missouri’ — it’s not really a Southern accent. It’s like they say ‘git’ and ‘forgit’ and ‘yers ‘and things like that —
RUSH: — and some of them very nasal, and when I first heard a tape of myself in my early days on the radio, I sounded a little bit like that, so I embarked on a self-taught course to be able to speak in such a way that nobody would ever know what part of the country I was from, and I learned to breathe diaphragmatically, because a lot of beginning radio people are what we call ‘pukers,’ you know, Ron Radios, ‘Hey, babe, how is it? It’s 77 degrees,’ and I wanted to get rid of that, too. So I was just joking. Where did you grow up?
CALLER: Northeast Arkansas, a little town called Pocahontas.
RUSH: I know where Pocahontas is. My mother’s from Arkansas. She was from Searcy. She grew up there. They moved to Kennett when she was a kid. So I got dangerously close to Arkansas a bunch of times. I was down there for my great-great grandmother’s funeral and a lot of other times been there. So, yeah, we’re close in a lot of ways.
CALLER: There was a man in our town, his name was Ray Limbaugh, but he never claimed you.
RUSH: Well, there are some Limbaughs, even my immediate family, who will not claim me even to this day. So that doesn’t surprise me.