Music Monday: memory of the language between us

My grandmother, Edith Marie McCall, was born on this day in 1940. She has been gone for two and half years now, and it is still hard for me to imagine a world without her in it. Still I pick up the telephone and want to call her. There are acute moments where I wish her voice could be on the other end of the line. I imagine this will always be the case. I miss her very much.

Certain music reminds me of my grandmother. Like me, she enjoyed songs with a little meat on their bones. When I was a teenager I set about discovering music that spoke to me. After a while I ventured outside of my generation’s angst fueled battle cry of Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains. This was around the time that I discovered Patsy Cline. My grandmother, or Nanners as I called her, was a huge fan of Patsy Cline and during one of my visits to her house we spent the entire afternoon listening to Cline’s music on repeat. It was an ordinary visit, but ordinary in that comfortable, known way. I don’t remember what we talked about exactly. I do know that when I listen to Cline now it reminds me of that warm afternoon, sitting at her kitchen table and talking, the smell of her menthol cigarettes wafting in the air.

I couldn’t articulate then why I liked Patsy Cline so much, how in each song I could feel the joy and suffering she had experienced, but the sensations washed over me that day.  The music itself felt like a language between my grandmother and I, a second conversation we were having — I know you, the good and the bad, and still I believe in the best of you. 

So, for today’s music Monday I’m taking a break from the Riding the Blind soundtrack to share some Patsy Cline. Everyone knows “Crazy” (it truly is a great song) but I’ve always been partial to “Walkin’ After Midnight” myself.

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