Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Grandpa (Tell Me 'Bout the Good Old Days)

Those aren't tears streaming down my face. OK, they are tears -- I don't sweat that much.

So what's been tugging at my heartstrings today? Did I see a hen mothering an orphaned baby duck? No, the answer is less to be found in the realm of natural history and more in the realm of popular entertainment, culture, music to be specific, country music to be particular.

I've been listening to the Judds' song, "Grandpa (Tell Me 'Bout the Good Old Days)." It's an old favorite and a very touching song. You might remember it. "Take me back to yesterday when the line between right or wrong didn't seem so hazy." Then they remember back, asking about the greater family values, whether lovers really were in love, wondering if daddies really never went away, and if hens mothered orphaned baby ducks without some kind of egg subsidy from the government.

They explain to Grandpa that everything has changed, which is called progress, which might be a bad word for it. "Let's wander back into the past, and paint me a picture of long ago." "Did lovers really fall in love to stay, stand beside each other come what may..." I do remember those days, here with Grandpa and Grandma and everyone. There was the distance between my own parents and Grandpa and Grandma. Then Grandpa died and "he really went away."

The Kundalini family (my father received it as a monastic name in a yoga sect in California before meeting my mother, getting married by the guru, and having me) was spacey in many ways. We came back this way, to the Midwest. I ended up staying with my grandparents while they went on back to California and often to parts unknown. My dad's now passed away -- he "really went away," too -- and my mother is still alive, but sick and poor in California, apparently without much sentimentality, although once in a while she writes.

They were back, though, a few times, and we always had a nice time, especially with family meals, going hunting and fishing, and of course meditating. About meditation, that was a sore spot for the family -- Grandpa brought out many of his treasured cuss words to address the strangeness of it. He definitely didn't understand sitting in one spot doing nothing! So, yes, those were the good old days. Thank you, Judds, for bringing back all the great memories. Family estrangement, everyone going away, Grandpa's personality problems, government subsidized chickens, my sick mama, the works.

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