Saturdays were yearned for all week and meant I might get to spend the night at my Grandma’s. She and Grandad and my aunt, Tot (who was 5 years older than me) lived out in the country on their little 40 acre farm about 12 miles away from the town we lived in. Nothing…not slumber parties, not football games, Coke parties (that would be the drinking kind of Coca-Cola) could get me revved up like going to Grandma’s!
Saturday afternoon would find me and Tot wandering the countryside hunting rocks, arrowheads or maybe an orphaned baby rabbit. How we never came up on a rattlesnake is something we sit around and marvel at now!! We made crepe paper dresses, played with our matching Teri Lee dolls (my mom and grandma made the doll clothes) and had fashion shows. We often were circus trapeze artists, swinging from live oak branches. And sometimes, we just would climb into the big tree swing (porch swing hung from tree branches). We’d both lie in the swing, usually in the heat of the day, sharing war/school stories or just plain tall tales.
Saturday nights, though, we KNEW where we’d be…in the living room with Grandad playing the Grand Ole Opry on his big console radio. It stood about 3 to 3 1/2 feet tall and the speaker hit just about where Grandad’s head was when he sat down in his rocking chair beside it. He’d lean over to the radio, jack up the volume and here we’d go with toe-tappin/banjo pickin’ hillbilly music. I never knew the names of the folks a singin’ or even the names of the songs. I wasn’t exactly overcome with joy that we had to listen to that junk…absolutely no appreciation for bluegrass, country/western or hillbilly music whatsoever! But I kept quiet because Grandad didn’t want any talking going on during the Opry. Period. He’d sit there, roll up a cigarette, light up and not move for the next hour or so.
Now, when I hear old recordings of Opry music, I think..wow, I know that song! It’s familiar to my ears. It’s like going home. Huh. Who would’ve thought that a Beatle loving Elvis fan could fondly listen to bluegrass? Alison Krauss has aided my appreciation greatly. But mostly, I just grew up and learned that ALL music is wonderful. Well, almost all. I’m having a really hard time classifying Lady Gaga as “music” and the little guy Bieber just gets on my nerves. So maybe ALL music isn’t wonderful. But most if it is if you listen real close.
Nothing says “bluegrass” or “Grand Old Opry” like Bill Monroe’s “Y’all Come”. I’ve heard it countless times and now, it just makes me smile. I understand what his song is talking about now…Aunts and uncles and cousins threw out a “Y’all come” everytime we would see them. Everytime we said goodbye. Everytime we talked on the phone. “Y’all come” is even better than an engraved invitation to some high falootin’ big city celebrity. And a heckofa lot more sincere. “Y’all come” meant there would be food for you and a Baptist pallet to sleep on that night. Couldn’t get any better than that. Listen to Bill and tell me you don’t have a great big old smile plastered on face now. And that your toes didn’t tap at least one time!!!