A Porch of My Own

A Porch of My Own

Friday, February 4, 2011

Sing Me Back Home

My Dad, Perry, loved to sing. He was a great honky tonk style country singer. He burst into song all day long, singing little snippets of songs to suit the occasion of what was going on. He sang with a joy and abandon that we loved.

My mom told me that on amateur night he used to sing and play the guitar at the old Paramount Theater in downtown Monroe where we lived.  

I remember we used to have some 78 rpm vinyl records of him singing. He told me one time that he had recorded them at the state fair. They had a booth there you could go into and sing and produce the record. The vinyl was a red color, not the usual black.

None of his children inherited Daddy's singing voice or his easy style. Whenever I burst into song such as in the car traveling, my family turns the radio on and up! 

I did learn from Daddy that you should sing anyway, even if you can't. I can never iron clothes without singing; it's physically impossible. For ironing, my choice is old gospel music. And I always sang my kids to sleep as I rocked them. I never sang the typical lullabies though. My standards were Kris Kristofferson's "Sunday Morning Coming Down", Emmylou Harris's "To Daddy" and her "One of These Days". Which could account for some of the odd behavior of my kids at times! I may have warped them with my choice of baby tunes. I did throw in an occasional Roger Miller's "Old Toy Trains" to offset the dark side of life in the other songs.

I remember one time we were on a family driving trip somewhere and Mama got mad at us for something, probably because we were annoying the heck either out of her or each other and she threatened to run away if we didn't stop it. Taking my cue from Daddy's policy of singing it out, I started singing Skeeter Davis's song "Got Along With Out You Before I Met You, Gonna Get Along Without You Now........." This caused Daddy to burst into his big boisterous laughter and even caused Mama to laugh, although she tried not to. Daddy's laughter was the same as his music to us kids. We could have listened to it all day long.

Daddy and his mom Grandma Hattie gave us all our love of music, even if we can't sing. Grandma Hattie played her records of Jim Reeves and Eddie Arnold on all occasions we had to gather at her house, all the holidays and parties and fish fries. Daddy not only played his country music to the point of driving Mama crazy, but he knew all the trivia about every country music singer. He was always telling us stories about "little" Johnny Rodriguez or Webb Pierce, who was his classmate in high school, or Carl Smith, one of his favorites. 

I wish I had recorded my Dad singing and laughing. 

If teardrops were pennies and heartaches were gold.............It's a lovely, lovely world since I met you.............I'm in the jailhouse now.............I've got a tiger by the tail it's plain to see.................I'm a honky tonk man and I can't seem to stop...............There he goes, he's walking away, each step he takes brings heartache my way...........

1 comment:

  1. What great memories you have of your dad. I loved reading your story!
    When I lived in Bossier City, I used to go to the Louisiana Hayride and listen to my neighbor sing. He has since passed away but his daughter and I are still great friends. Reading your story reminds me of a lot of her stories. I'm going to share your post with her.