Jul 8, 2007


Say what you will about me, but this little You-tube video features the one and only, the man in black, the late and great, Johnny Cash.  Everybody loves Johnny Cash, and Ray Charles.  If you don't like Johnny Cash and Ray Charles well, there is something seriously amiss.

This video pretty much describes the way I was feeling yesterday but, forget about that.  It is a masterpiece.  One of the last great songs from Johnny Cash, it stands alone as a work of art, all its own.  


I should probably tell you here that my roots come from bluegrass and old country music.  And this takes me back to When the children gathered at twilight, catching fireflies in mason jars, with holes punched in the lids.  Playing hides and seek, while the old folks sat on the porch and rocked,  while some played, and some sang, the sweet sounds of the fiddle, the banjo, the mandolin, voices joined in country harmony.

Some songs were old gospels that we all knew, and old courting songs, some were special, just sweet sounding and sad, drifting in the air of sweet a summer's breeze.

Inside, the food laid out on the table, covered with a cloth, to keep the flies away, under the naked light bulb, hot and bright. The sweet taste of corn on the cob, dripping with butter, and sliced fresh tomatoes, red and ripe, dusted with salt, maybe a spoonful of green beans seasoned with fat back, or bacon, cooked slow, enough to feed a hungry child. Can't stay inside too long, as the itching will get you bad. From rolling around in weeds, making forts, and tunnels, and hideouts all day.

The bathrooms were outside, which is just as well, as all those dirty little bare feet left such tracks on the linoleum floor, new enough to still shine. Such a sweet escape, too short, too fleeting, visits that didn't last long enough. 

We made friends so quick back then, fast friends in a day, and on through the evening hours. We looked forward to the trip to the swimming hole the next day, following the grownups down the shaded path, excitement building, until the older ones grabbed onto the rope, swinging out far and wide to drop with a splash in the cold dark waters of the Coal River.

The younger ones, knee deep in silt, plugging away to wade out where it wasn't too deep, until someone's Daddy decided it was time you took to swimming. Then, without warning, they grabbed you, tossed you, and threw you in the deep water. You either sank or swam, and we all decided to swim. Don't remember no one drowning. All the Daddies laughing, ready to swim and catch us if we floundered.

Where are they now? Some at Teays Hill, some at Cunningham, some, at Pleasant Hill, some far away, who never came home.

But, if you walk the hollers on a summer's eve, and listen, you still here the faint sounds of the banjo, the mandolin, and the high sweet laughter of children chasing lightening bugs, leaving golden specks  in the palms of sweaty hands.


Babzy said...

Oh Deb. I thought I was all cried out.

just me said...

Me, too. I remember this video when it first came out, and its simplicity and absolute honesty grabbed in the heart and gave it a mighty yank. Its how I feel sometimes. Thinking if I could just start over, things would be different, things would turn out different somehow, some way.

How life changes us, from the bright young things with all the hopes and dreams, to whatever is left, whatever bits and pieces we scrape together and still call a human being.

Babzy said...

Hey you added a story to this video. I was suddenly transported to your back "holler" with barely a yelp or a holler.

Delicious writing.

just me said...

Yelp, I got to writing and didn't know when to stop. Thinking about things, the way there were, growing up scrawny and poor as dirt, scared and happy, a strange little creature all at the same time. Weird, huh?

Shrink Wrapped Scream said...

Goosebumps Debbi, we all believe if we could do things over, what if? I still haven't learnt to stop doing that, though God knows, by now I should. It's not in your hands, bonny lass, it never was.


just me said...

Carol, there may come a day when I can accept that completely. I pray that will happen. Yes, I said the P word.

All you nasty's go on with your bad selves. This is my blog. I'll say what I want.

singleton said...

"catching fireflies in mason jars".....

That's you. Catching fireflies in mason jars and sharing them.

and yep, baby, it's your blog, you can say what you want to!
We're right behind you!

Shrink Wrapped Scream said...

That's right, bonny lass - don't let the buggers get you down - you're so much better than that! x

just me said...

Carol, what do they call old crones in England? I know it ain't bonnie lass...

skinnylittleblonde said...

Playing hides and seek, while the old folks sat on the porch and rocked, while some played, and some sang,... Gosh this takes me back to a time when I wanted to stay up all night with the menfolk in my family, as they sat out drinking their 'phew' and singing songs I had yet to learn the words to. Beautiful writing.
And without a doubt, Johnny Cash's version of Hurt is the best ever!

Catmoves said...

Very thoughtful and moving. You have touched me with rememberings. Youth, filled with wonder and awe. Thank you.

Mary said...

Your writing is so beautiful.

Mary said...

I love that CD that the song is on. I remember JC being interviewed on Public Radio for that album and as soon as the interview was done I went and bought the CD. It really is a work of art.