Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Red Wing Blackbirds, Caragana Bushes & Back Porch Music - memories of my Grampa

I was out for a walk tonight listening to my i-pod and a song by Delbert McClinton came on.  All of a sudden I was a little girl, sitting on a backporch listening to music I've come to call, "Back Porch Music".  It's the kind that just makes you tap your feet and bob your head (while at least that's the effect it had on me).  I can hear an accordion, a steel guitar, my grampa's mouth organ and drums and a wonderful fiddle.  Every time I hear this kind of music it takes me back to my childhood.  When I think of my Grampa Albert I ALWAYS think of music.  I know my brother Randy has the old reel-to-reel tape recorder they used back in the good old days but I'm not sure if he has any of the recordings.  I'm going to have to check on this. 

It seems the spring is always the time that Grampa Albert is on my mind.  I was at the garden center today when the overwhelming scent of caragana washed over me along with more memories.  My Grampa Albert was the master of the hedge.  He used to sit with the clippers in his lap sharpening them for a long time before he began his handiwork.  When my Grampa Albert passed away my Gramma Dot kept the clippers around.  I don't think my grampa would have liked it that she marked them with purple nail polish:)  Gramma Dot was like a dog on a bush with her purple nail polish.  She marked every belonging she owned with the stuff and we still joke about it today.  Every time grampa trimmed that hedge I could smell it for days.  When I think of Grampa Albert I smell caragana, even when it's the middle of winter!  I have never had a good sense of smell so it's unusual that the smell of cragana stayed with me over the years.

As if it was a day meant for memories, on my walk I also spotted the first red-winged blackbird of the year.  I always think when I see them that it's Grampa Albert checking up on me to make sure I'm living my life well.  Grampa called these birds "Sarge" because of the red stripe on their wings.  I golf at a little course near where I live and there is a family of Sarges that I see every spring.  I can honestly say that whenever I see one of these little fellas it takes me straight to my grampa.

My friend Rebecca, who writes a wonderful blog called Letters to the World ( lambschram.blogspot.com)writes. . . "As I go about my workaday life I get an idea about something. I play with the idea. I toss it back and forth and throw it at the wall like cooked spaghetti to see if it sticks. If it does, then I write about it."  It seems today that Grampa Albert was meant to stick.  While I didn't inherit my grampa's gift for music I did inherit the love of a good knee-slapping, toe-tapping, singalong at the top of your lungs song.  He'd have been proud of the way I belted out the songat the top of my lungs along an old gravel road on a spring evening.

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