Today was a rough day for baby and I. She must be teething as she has been uncharacteristically “fussy”.
As evening came and her bedtime drew near, she was not asleep by the time she finished her bottle, so we started to sing. We began with her favorites, she loves to ‘sing’ the song Running Over and does the actions as I sing them. It is absolutely adorable! After I had exhausted my usual list of songs, and she was just drifting off, my mind wandered to a memory of my Grandpa singing to us in the evening. So for the first time, I sang some of my Grandpa’s songs to my little girl, songs that Grandpa had sung to me. (My Grandpa went home to Heaven last year in March and my Grandma joined him that December. I have always thought that December was their special month: They were married on December 5, 1945 and Grandma’s birthday was on Christmas Day. Though I rarely talk about them to others, I remember them often and miss them.) My Grandpa was a firm believer in singing real songs. “Not like the stuff that they sing today that repeats the same lines over and over”, he used to say. Before he was saved he played at the dances and so he had a large repertoire of songs that he knew. Some of them were sad, others would make you laugh, but most would tell a story. As a young man he played the guitar, but in later years the cords in his hands pulled together making him unable to play. When we visited him, he would play the harpsichord (or auto harp). On Sunday he would often play hymns and the songs of George Beverly Shea, but throughout the week he would play other songs. Two that I remember were:”The Unknown Soldier’s Grave” and “The Wreck of Old Number Nine”. But what would always get me, is that sometimes when he would play, there would be tears in his eyes and his voice would waver. I could never understand why the song would make him cry. But tonight as I sang to my little girl, my voice wavered too, and tears filled my eyes. Perhaps it wasn’t so much the song as it was the memories of years gone by. I know it was true for me tonight.
Below is the lyrics to the song ” The Wreck of Old Number Nine” It was sung by Vernon Dalhart in the 1920’s.
**The Wreck of Old Number Nine**
*On a cold winter night not a star was in sight,
and the north wind kept howling down the line;
With his sweetheart so dear stood a brave engineer,
with his orders to pull old number nine.
He kissed her goodbye with a tear in her eye,
for the joy in his heart he could not hide;
And the whole world seemed bright when she told him that night,
That tomorrow she’d be his blushing bride.
As the train rolled along and the wheels hummed a song,
And the black smoke came pourin’ from the stack,
His headlight a-gleam seemed to brighten his dream,
Of the ‘morrow, when he’d be coming back.
As he sped round the hill, his brave heart stood still,
For a headlight was gleaming in his face.
He whispered a prayer as he blew on the air,
For he knew this would be his final run.
In the wreck he was found lying there on the ground
and he asked them to raise his weary head;
While his breath slowly went this message he sent,
To the maiden of whom he would be wed.
“There’s a little white home that I bought for our own,
Where I dreamed we’d be happy by and by;
But I’ll leave it to you for I know you’ll be true,
Till we meet at those Golden Gates, goodbye.*