Your Gran’daddy And Me

My mother just sent me an e-mail asking what song I felt I'd inherited from the generation above and what song I'd want to pass on to the next generation.  (It seems she and my sister, in a discussion as to what their own choices would be, had started speculating about what I'd choose.  What they thought I'd choose and what they chose themselves was not detailed in the e-mail.)

When my sister and I were children, every so often our family would spend the evening having a sing-song.  My father could play the guitar (admittedly for fairly loose values of the term 'play', but these things don't matter to a small girl who gets the chance to sing along to her father making music), and we used to sing what years later I would learn to categorise as traditional/folk songs.  Big Rock Candy Mountain, Sloop John B, Dona Dona, Pack Up Your Troubles – I remember singing all of those, and have had a go at singing each of them to my own children, along with a motley collection from the musicals in which I had bit parts during my medical school years.  Somehow, the one that has caught on most has been Sloop John B, aka the Go Home Song (Jamie) or 'the song about how he's all broken up inside' (Katie).  I'd have classified it as my second favourite song at the time of those musical evenings – my favourite was Big Rock Candy Mountain.  But something about its minor cadence fits with the bittersweetness of singing a song of my father's to the grandchildren who will never know him. 

We sailed on the Sloop John B

My gran'daddy and me

Except, when I first started singing it to Jamie almost four years ago, I realised I was making a minor change in the words without even thinking about it:

We sailed on the Sloop John B

Your gran'daddy and me

When I noticed that, I didn't try to put it right.  I sing the song that way deliberately now.  I sing Your gran'daddy and me, words for a song that is one small way in which my father and my children are linked through me, one tiny gift from the father who loved me so much to the grandchildren he never had a chance to love just as much, one tiny gift from me back to him, the gift of keeping his memory alive and passing it on to the next generation.


Filed under Family values, Here Be Offspring

3 responses to “Your Gran’daddy And Me

  1. Granny C

    Thank you, Dear One,
    It’s a perfect choice. Ruth chose Bread and Roses. We had such fun….and still do. Dad would be so proud. xxxGrannyC

  2. Fiona Donovan

    Wowzers! The power of song! Apparently I sang ‘You are my Sunshine’ to cheer my mum up when my dad died when I was 4. They now sing it in my son’s music group, eeeeek, there’s no hope for me who cries at adverts on the telly, but one beam from Bertie and it’s all good. Here’s to Grandad’s!! X

  3. Fiona Donovan

    Damn the predictive apostrophy!

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