November 07, 2005

Music Memory

I was up at my ma's today, helping to move boxes of small stuff again... I don't think we've really made a dent in all she's got. But everything is going well. I'll be up there for most of the week, so my visits to you folks may be a little limited, as well as my posts. But, as Army Wife says, "It's a good thing." Less suffering for y'all.

Anyway, moving junk around got me thinking about my dad's old stuff. No, none of what was moved today was his, but nonetheless, my thoughts were about him. He used to have a few harmonicas... different keys they were. He also had an old Jew's harp... not sure exactly where that is, but it's around. (If you don't know what a Jew's harp is, here's a sketch.) That harp was a blast... tones are made by shaping your mouth. Many a time did we have a nice rattle as accompaniment to our strumming, as the metal tongue smacked into our teeth.

I spent most of my time thinking about Pa playing for us... it wasn't something that happened often, but we all enjoyed it when he did. For all I know, he could have sucked, but when he was playing, there wasn't ever any one who did it better. Never. After he was finished, we couldn't wait for the next time. In between, I'd hear shortened versions of "Old Dan Tucker," and this, (which I can't find any info about):

There was a wise guy, from the city
And he picked up a striped ole kitty,
He's a movin' on,
He'll soon be gone.
He held his nose while he buried his clothes,
He's a movin' on.

There was more, but I can't remember much other than there was a train involved.

So I was kinda lost in my thoughts all day, smiling to myself when I wasn't visiting with Ma. As I headed home, I took the backroads through the area by the old farm. It was dark and peaceful... hardly any other traffic on the road. I was jamming on a cd that I had just opened today, and as I drove, a dirty slide guitar started wailing, playin' some rockin' blues. I could feel the grin on my face widen, as the music went on. Just as I started wishing for a harmonica, one started in with a short solo... I laughed. I was grinning, laughing, and had tears forming in my eyes from the laughter. Once the song ended, the mood was gone... so I hit repeat. And it started all over again...

At first, I felt a little stupid laughing to myself, and having such a great time with no one else around. But I wasn't alone. I looked above at the Cheshirean moon, and knew that somewhere out there, Pa was jamming right along with me.

Posted by That 1 Guy at November 7, 2005 09:46 PM

What a great time. What a great drive. I'll bet it was you're Pa's way of sayin' "Thank You" for helpin' your Ma. ;-)

Posted by: Ta mmi at November 8, 2005 12:27 AM

One of music's gifts is its ability to take you to a different place.

Posted by: Jim - PRS at November 8, 2005 02:49 AM

My grandma had a jews harp. I tried it once and had a fairly bad mouth accident. Tricky things, they are.

Posted by: Marty at November 8, 2005 07:26 AM

I'm with Tammi, maybe it was your Pa's way of saying, I'm still here, and your a good son!

Posted by: oddybobo at November 8, 2005 07:36 AM

I loved listening to someone play a Jew's harp when I was younger. I haven't heard one in years.

I always found that a good song can touch something deep that you may not even have known was there and bring it out. The one you listened to was just a good happy one.

Posted by: Contagion at November 8, 2005 08:46 AM