Unitarian Hymnal Sing-along

In which Kathryn attempts to sing a different song everyday from the Unitarian Universalist hymnal, 'Singing the Living Tradition'. Earlier posts are based on songs from the Reader's Digest songbooks she found at yard sales as a child, including: 'Reader's Digest Treasury of Best Loved Songs', 'Reader's Digest Family Songbook', and 'Reader's Digest Family Songbook of Faith and Joy'. Bonus Folk song material from: 'Folk Song USA', by John and Alan Lomax.

24 October 2006

"Stop and Smell the Roses"

Starting a new section today with 'Faith and Joy with a Country Flavor'. Country music is not my main interest, and I was actually glad to have a few days on this song, as much as I was also highly impatient with my lack of blogging time. Come the end of the day I've been too tired to do anything but fall into bed. I'm probably still singing this too 'straight', but it got a bit better as I played with it for a few days. These older, more classic country songs are close enough to folk to please me. I doubt that I'm going to find any songs about trucks, or women's butts, in the Reader's Digest Faith and Joy collection, thankfully.

We found out a little while back that my grandfather, my father's father, is dying. Finally. He has what amounts to systemic cancer, as well as leukemia and emphysema. He's 88, and pretty much crazy. [See 8 December 2005 for background on dear old Granddaddy.] Because I haven't seen him in so long, and I will most likely not see him before his death, this news of his impending mortality is a very strange itchy feeling.

If this were an optimistic book or movie, all of this would end with a lovely death bed forgiveness scene, with my father on the forgiveness end. My grandfather would apologize for how badly he's treated him all these years, and write him back into the will, the whole shebang. None of this is going to happen. Somewhat morbidly, I just want it to be over now. I want to go to the funeral, and see all the other relatives from that side of the family, people I haven't seen in decades, people my daughter has never met. I want to see people with my face. I want my grandfather to be dead, so that my father can start to heal that wound, as much as is possible to do so.

I want to take my daughter to see her only living great-grandmother. I want to visit my grandmother once a month for the rest of her life (she's ninety, that makes me nervous as I weave this plan of mine). I want to have her bake me a pie, teach me in person the secret of her fabulous crust. I want to ask her about all of her family stories: maybe she'll tell me, when my grandfather is finally gone, how she came to have two children out of wedlock before she married my grandfather. Maybe she'll tell me what happened to her oldest child, my uncle. Where did he go? I want to know what her life has been, not just how badly things went with my grandfather, but the other stuff. What is the other stuff, Grandmom? I want her to see my daughter, and to have my daughter have memories of her great-grandmother. I want to take pictures, have pictures taken of us all together. I want to ask my grandmother if her body is like my body, what growing old has been like for her in this body that might be like mine. I want to ask what her childhood was like.

This state of limbo is okay, as well. I know it won't last forever, and until then, I can hold in a tiny part of my heart some fantasy that my grandfather will make peace with my father, will make peace with me, my mother, my siblings. I can try to forgive him, even a little, while we still share the same planet.


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