The other day, i was listening to the radio on my television. One of those music channels options. I do that sometimes when i am washing dishes or cleaning the main floor of the house, because i get tired of the CDs in my kitchen. (You can only listen to my usuals: Blonde on Blonde, Pleased to Meet Me, and Picaresque so many times. It is funny how my recently played songs on Last.fm never actually take into account my time listening to cds in the kitchen the old-fashioned way.)
A song came on, and as so often happens in my distracted life, it was halfway over before I realized that I had known and sang along with every word, despite the fact that I don’t think I had ever heard the song before. I stood at the sink, up to my elbows in dirty dishes (we are currently grieving for our deceased dishwasher), looking blankly out the window on my fall garden, and trying to pull a memory out of the ether. It came to me in a flash, a quick glimpse of my grandma’s smiling face, with thick coke-bottle glasses, laughing at the piano in our old house.
My Buddy. It was My Buddy.
I used to love to watch my grandmother play the piano. She could still play, even into her 80s, and i think now that it is a lost art. Now, only the virtuosos play piano. But in her day, all young girls learned to play the piano, and standing around the piano playing songs and singing together was one of their favorite past-times. My grandmother would play songs out of the Cokesbury Hymnal. Her favorite was In the Garden. To this day, i get weepy every time I hear that beautiful hymn. I think that when I was little, I had no idea it was religious in nature, and the walking with, and talking with, and telling me that I am his own just made me feel so very loved. I never hear that song without thinking of Grandma Smith. But it was Grandma playing the songs My Buddy, and I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles that I really loved. She would sing as she played, and Lisa and I would sing along with her, following along in the songbook the words that she sang by heart, the songs she had listened to as a girl in Slidell, Louisiana and Chattanooga, Tennessee.
“Nights are long since you went away I think about you all thru the day My buddy, My buddy, No buddy quite so true
Miss your voice, The touch of your hand Just long to know that you understand My buddy, My buddy, Ooh your buddy misses you
Miss your voice, The touch of your hand Just long to know that you understand My buddy, My buddy, Your buddy misses you
Yes I do”
Grandma, you’ve been gone for 16 years now, and your buddy still misses you every day.