Friday, August 29, 2008


Photo from Fruit Pictures

Spent some time today thinking about things I did as a kid that I'll never forget, and realized that an awful lot of my memories center around music, and especially singing.

I don't suppose that's surprising. We're a very musical family. We all sing, and our car was not a place for playing the radio, but for singing to and with each other. Mom and Dad harmonized love songs, sang us the songs their parents had taught them, songs they'd learned from the radio and record albums, and songs from the hymn book at church.

Those hymns, as I later came to understand, were not the usual fare for a lot of churches. Our particular brand of church was non-instrumental, which made learning to read music and sing parts pretty crucial. A capella music can be pretty boring if everyone's stuck on the melody line. It was not out of the way for the song leader to choose a song for which there were six written parts going in as many directions. He expected what he got--full-out six-part harmony. It was great. As my brothers and I got older and our voices changed, we progressed from Dad's strong bass and Mama's sweet soprano plus five pint-sized voices in unison with her, to bass from Dad, soprano from Mom, tenor or bass from the boys and alto from me. Our car rocked, let me tell you.

We had regular "singings", too. Often we'd gather in someone's home and sing all evening, just breaking to eat. When a month had a fifth Sunday in it, one congregation would host, and people would come from all over to sing the afternoon away. I loved Fifth Sunday Singings because you got to raise your hand and request songs. Sometimes the hands were going up before we finished a song. We all wanted our favorites.

I remember one day, though, when it was just Dad and me. We had seventeen acres of strawberries and young orchard. Apple and pear trees need about five years to grow and mature before they yield a cash crop, so Dad and Uncle Walt planted strawberries between the saplings, and they provided fruit until the trees "grew up".

Anyway, Dad needed to rototill between the rows of strawberries, kind of a high-speed way to weed, but he didn't want to damage the tender branches of the trees that were beginning to stretch out. His job was to drive the tractor. My job was to run alongside and just in front of him, grab the branches of each tree and hold them out of the way.

It was hot, and it was dusty, and there are a lot of rows in the ten acres we did that day, but what fun we had! We yodeled from one end of the field to the other, singing at the top of our lungs. I wonder if the neighbors down the road could hear us, and what did they think?

We came home, tired, hot, and absolutely covered head to foot with thick, brown, dust. I was one color from the top of my head to the sole of my shoes, and I remember holding up my hand in wonder, just looking at monochromatic me.

It was a wonderful day, and one I'll remember forever.

Photo from Serviceberry Farms


Kathy said...

what a lovely memory. My family is also very musical & we'd all sing, making up songs, singing Church songs. Your story brough back some fantastic memories that I thought had vanished.

storybeader said...

all work should be so enjoyable!
And your car sounds like it really rocked!

Linda said...

Great memories, I think it is great your family sang together.

Nora said...

Nice post and a lovely memory! Makes me wish I had an apple orchard but I'm sure its a lot of hard work!

A Keeper's Jackpot said...

My grandmother had a great voice... too bad I didn't inherit it lol

Stormy Designs said...

My girls and I sing too, my mom and I used to do it. Great read, thanks for participating!

3 REXES said...

Great story & Great Coffee Pot People!

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