Not only do I like songs about being my own grandpa, I just realized that I might be turning into my grandma. Not in all ways, but in some.

She used the right word at the right time.

I was in college. We were playing Scrabble. I had the word WHORE on my rack. It was my turn. I could have played and won. But I didn’t want to play the word in front of her. I knew then, and now, that she would have played it. It was a word. It was a game. She would have won. I would do it now. I would play much worse. She would have.

She was funny and musical

I’ve been accused of being funny. Musical? Not so much. Though, if I say I am a musician, people laugh. Does that count?  I tried singing a song in front of my infant daughter and she started to cry. Now she’s not an infant, she’s four and a dancer. She calls my dancing “funny moving” not dancing. Funny, not musical. But the music part might be in the genetics.

Grandma had a musical background. She toured with her family as the Jenkins Family Orchestra and played at barn dances, and fairs, and churches, and was the opening act for The Amazing Kreskin, a magician. I have posters. She played the fiddle at square dances, and even in her 90s would sometimes pop in at Old Time Fiddlers events. One of the most profound and moving experiences of my life was sitting on a couch with my new fiance, and having grandma play love songs from the 20s on her fiddle.

I started writing songs a few years ago. I did this because I became a music teacher one day, and I write other things so writing songs became the most obvious next extension. I don’t play instruments. Can’t clap. Etc. My growing interest in music, and professional obligations, and sense of humor, has resulted in numerous attempts at responding to the world in the form of a song.

After being corrected for the umpteenth time about some persnickety irrelevant to the context detail, I wrote “The AINTC Song.” It is to the tune of B-I-N-G-O. It goes:

A -I -N -T -C …

annoying incessant need to correct…

annoying incessant need to correct…

There are more lyrics… “You say actually…let me tell you factually.” The A-I-N-T-C part has almost caught on in class. Sometimes students will sing it about themselves. It’s been a fun addition to the classroom conversation. One of my favorite moments from last year was when I overheard a student tell another student that he had been working really hard on not interrupting to say things like “Actually it’s 9:02 NOT 9:00” because Mr. Ellingson wrote that song and kept singing it at us. Music can change the world.

I’ve been told that my songs are not songs, they are lyrics. I’ve been told that they are more performance pieces than songs. I’ve been told that they are all silly and not very serious. I am working on the lyrics for a performance piece to respond to this criticism. I can assure you that it will be somber and sincere. On my desk right now is a song about intolerance for synonyms.

Recently I made a personal connection with one of my favorite memories of my grandma, which made me realize how similar we may be…

Grandma was not immune to the dramas that surround civilization. And her dramas, and her civilization, were focused on the few folks wandering around the retirement village. She had a habit of hoarding fruit, and putting it in our pockets when we came to visit to make sure she was getting her money’s worth. And there was B.I.N.G.O. and the surrounding dramas about prizes and protocols.

And once the B.I.N.G.O. cards went missing. This was not good. She started an investigation. She narrowed down the suspects, and came up with the most likely candidate. And she did what you’d think she would do…

She wrote a parody of the song “Somebody Bad Stole De Wedding Bell” performed by Ella Fitzgerald, Eartha Kitt, and others. This is the chorus:

Somebody bad stole de wedding bell

Somebody bad stole de wedding bell

Somebody bad stole de wedding bell

Now, nobody can get married

She told me that she slipped it into her prime suspects mailbox. Her song was called “Somebody Bad Stole The BINGO Cards.” I think you can guess what the chorus sounded like. I would give almost anything to watch them read that note. I think it was a good parody. She told me she worked pretty hard on it. She also said that they found the BINGO cards the next day.

I miss you grandma. We could have made wonderful music together. I hope I’ll make you proud.

Somebody bad interrupted me in class 

Now, nobody can hear the story

Hmm. I think I might be onto something…

Tagged with:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Set your Twitter account name in your settings to use the TwitterBar Section.